Public health advisors in Somerset are urging people to have their MMR vaccinations after a small outbreak of measles was confirmed in the Glastonbury area.
Somerset County Council said they have been notified of 11 new cases of measles in children and young people aged 10–24 years since the beginning of July, of which seven have now been confirmed. This compares with just one case in the first half of the year.
Stewart Brock, from Somerset County Council, said: ‘We’re doing what we can to make sure measles doesn’t spread in Somerset and I’d encourage parents of unprotected young people to arrange for MMR vaccination before they go back to school, or on to university, as we know that is another period when measles can circulate more easily.’
Dr Harry Yoxall, medical secretary at Somerset LMC, said the cluster was concerning, but local publicity was helping to remind the public to go and get vaccinated.
Dr Yoxall said: ‘Of course we’ve got the catch-up programme running and this sort of publicity I’m sure will encourage more people who haven’t been immunised to come in.
‘In some ways it’s a good time of the year, because some young people in their late teens or early 20s who are away at college are now back home, and it may be easier to get them to come in and get vaccinated.’
He added: ‘I have spoken to one practice manager in the locality and they are obviously gearing up in anticipation that more people may be coming in. If the demand is relatively small they will be able to absorb that in normal practice nursing time, but if there’s a lot of demand, which would be great, then there will be extra clinics or other arrangements.’
Dr Yoxall said the LMC did not yet have data on how many people had been vaccinated through the catch-up programme, but information coming through from practices suggested it was ‘not a large number’.
He added: ‘There are not large numbers of people coming forward, there’s been a trickle, but much. Whether this will change things we don’t know, but it would be great if it did. A little outbreak like this raises awareness and that’s helpful.’