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HSE has this warning for families as 800 people in the UK hit by measles

Measles is highly contagious and can lead to deafness, brain damage and even death.

Measles is a highly contagious virus.
Measles is a highly contagious virus.
Image: Measles via Shutterstock

AN OUTBREAK OF measles has affected over 800 people in the UK.

The outbreak is centred on the south Wales town of Swansea but health experts warn there is a serious risk that the virus could spread.

Measles is a highly contagious virus which can cause serious complications in around one in 15 cases, leading to deafness, brain damage and even death.

The HSE is advising families considering visiting Wales and the north east of England to ensure that all family members have been immunised with the MMR vaccine to protect them against measles.

Waterford County Councillor Joe Conway is in agreement with the HSE and has warned that “Swansea is 115 miles from the ferry port of Rosslare – and tens of thousands traverse the Swansea area each week on their way to Ireland”.

MMR injection

Between 1996 and 2012 an average of 550 people contracted the disease each year in Britain, but this latest epidemic has already infected 808 people.

It is believed that up to two million schoolchildren are unprotected due to a scare which linked the measles, mumps and rubella jab (MMR) with autism.

Health officials pointed the finger at disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 report, which appeared in prestigious medical journal The Lancet, that linked the MMR with autism.

Many parents decided not to have their children immunised as a result.

Wakefield is barred from practising in Britain after a panel ruled that he had “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant” in his published research.

The Lancet fully retracted the study and noted that some of the report had been falsified.

- © AFP, 2013

Read: Measles outbreak in Swansea spreads to 620 people >

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Amy Croffey

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