Cases of measles are increasing in England.

If your child has not been fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine it is a good time to get this done to protect them. This can be arranged through the child’s GP practice. You can check your child is up to date with their MMR vaccinations by looking at their personal health record (Red Book) or by asking their GP. The MMR vaccination also protects your child against not only measles but also mumps and rubella.

Symptoms of measles

The early symptoms of measles can look like other illnesses but the infection is highly contagious.

Measles symptoms to be aware of include:

  • high fever
  • sore, red, watery eyes
  • coughing
  • aching and feeling generally unwell
  • a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.

The distinctive rash of measles begins around day 3 of the illness, a rash of flat red or brown blotches appear, beginning on the face, behind the ears and spreading over the body.

People most at risk

Measles is not just limited to children so protect your loved ones – People whose immunity is compromised, pregnant women and unvaccinated children are at increased risk of severe disease.

Measles is highly contagious and can lead to complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain which require hospitalisation. On rare occasions, it can lead to long-term disability or death.

Measles and school - Prevention and early intervention is key

Any child thought to have measles should not be sent to school. Where possible NHS 111 or the GP should be phoned, for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E. This is to avoid passing the infection on to others.

Getting your child vaccinated can prevent them from being sent home from school to self-isolate.

If a pupil is diagnosed with measles the health protection team should be contacted. For Essex including Southend the email address and phone number 0300 303 8537.

More information on measles in a school setting can be found in the web document: Managing specific infectious diseases: A to Z

More information

Further details about measles can be found at Measles on the NHS website

For more information about the MMR vaccination please see MMR Vaccine