Urgent warning to parents as one in four kids face 21-day isolation as measles cases surge

A surge in measles cases means unvaccinated school children are being forced to self-isolate for 21 days.

Local governments warned parents after it was revealed there could be up to 160,000 cases in the capital alone.

A quarter of children in London have not received both doses of the MMR vaccine


A quarter of children in London have not received both doses of the MMR vaccinePhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

Health officials say low uptake of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine has increased the risk of a potentially fatal infection.

Figures show one in four (25 per cent) of school children in London have not received both doses of the life-saving jab, compared to 15 per cent across the country.

The World Health Organization recommends an uptake of about 95 percent to ensure herd immunity and prevent outbreaks.

Recent data from Britain’s Health Security Agency suggests there were 128 measles cases in the first half of this year, compared to 54 in all of 2022, with 66 percent of cases detected in London.

Parents in London and surrounding counties have been told that if a student is infected with the virus, classmates and siblings who have not received both doses of MMR could be sent home and asked to self-isolate for three weeks.

London’s Barnet Council warned parents in a letter that their child could face a three-week isolation period from school if they are found to be close contact with someone who has measles.

“We are currently seeing an increase in measles cases in neighboring London boroughs. Now is a good time to check that your child’s MMR vaccination – which protects your child not only from measles but also mumps and rubella – is up to date,” it read.

“Any child identified as a close contact of a measles case who does not have satisfactory vaccination status may be asked to self-isolate for up to 21 days.

“Vaccinated children do not have to be excluded from school or child care.”

Hertfordshire County Council similarly warned parents of unvaccinated children about the possible 21-day exclusion period.

That letter added: “It is enough to spend 15 minutes or more in direct contact with a person infected with measles to contract the infection.”

The Telegraph reported that a similar letter was sent from neighboring Haringey Council.

The 21-day isolation period is based on guidance published in 2019 by Public Health England, the predecessor of the UK Health Authority (UKHSA).

The MMR vaccine is 99 percent effective after two doses, with the first dose typically given around a child’s first birthday and the second at age three.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads quickly from person to person, especially in schools.

It is so contagious that a child who has it will infect up to nine out of 10 children around them if they are not protected by a vaccination.

Measles is a dangerous pathogen that can cause serious problems if it spreads to other parts of the body such as the lungs or brain, including pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and seizures.

About 20 to 40 percent of infected children need to be hospitalized.

Expectant mothers who also become infected with the virus run the risk of suffering a miscarriage.

Experts have previously told the Sun that an outbreak of Victorian disease is imminent this winter.

“This (low vaccination rate) is shockingly bad and calls for a major outbreak,” said Prof Helen Bedford, a child public health expert at University College London.

Susceptibility is particularly high among 19 to 25 year olds.

Many in this age group did not get vaccinated at the time because of unsubstantiated stories about the safety of the vaccines in the 2000s.

The UKHSA says uptake of non-Covid vaccines has fallen during the pandemic.

However, Prof Helen said the low uptake could also be due to the national shortage of health workers, who are often the only people who talk to parents about vaccinations.

Data from NHS Digital shows there were 5,870 health visitors in July 2022, a fall of 43 per cent from the peak of 10,309 in October 2015.

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Anyone of any age can make up for missed injections free of charge.

Parents can check that their children are fully up to date by checking their vaccination record in the Red Book.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles usually begins with cold-like symptoms.

These include:

  • a high temperature
  • a runny or stuffy nose
  • sneeze
  • a cough
  • red, sore, watery eyes

A few days later, small white spots may appear in the cheeks and on the back of the lips. These spots usually last a few days.

A patchy red rash usually appears a few days after the cold-like symptoms. It starts on the face and behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body.

The condition usually goes away within seven to ten days, but it can also lead to other serious complications.

Serious complications can occur, including miscarriages in pregnant women, brain swelling, and the risk of dying from pneumonia.

It is very unlikely that it is measles if you have received both doses of the MMR vaccine or have had measles before.

However, if you think you or your child may have measles, ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111.

Source: NHS

Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: ailaslisco@dailynationtoday.com.

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