Community Health Champions | Tel: 01782 683030 | [email protected]

Concern over rising cases of Measles

Cases of measles are rising across England, help stop the spread.

Cases of measles are rising across England, including among children. It’s an infection that spreads very easily, especially in nurseries and schools if children are not vaccinated. It can be a very unpleasant illness. In some children measles can be very serious, leading to hospitalisation and in rare cases, it can cause death.

There’s no specific medical treatment for measles, so it’s important to get vaccinated as it’s the best protection against becoming seriously unwell. This also helps prevent the spread in the community. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is one of the routine childhood vaccinations, so most children are already vaccinated against measles. If your child has received both doses of the vaccine, they are unlikely to have the virus.

If you are unsure if your child is up to date with these vaccines, check their personal child health record, known as the red book, or contact your GP practice.

It is never too late to catch up. The MMR vaccine is free, whatever your age. If anyone has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, contact your GP practice to book an appointment.

If you think you or someone you know might have measles 

Anyone with symptoms is advised phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice. Measles usually starts to get better in about a week but if you do need to visit the GP practice or A&E please contact them in advance so NHS staff can help you without putting vulnerable staff or patients at risk.

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth. Find out more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of measles include:

  • a high fever
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • red, sore, watery eyes
  • rash (appears on the head and behind the ears a few days after the cold-like symptoms before spreading across the body)
  • small white spots inside the cheeks and on the lips.

Please note, children who are unvaccinated and come into contact with a case may need to stay away from school or nursery for up to 21 days.

Get up to date with your MMR vaccines

Schedule appointments with your GP to catch-up on any missed doses. Your GP surgery will usually contact you when your child is due for a routine vaccination, but if you think your child has missed a dose, you can speak to your practice to book an appointment.

Children typically get the first MMR dose around their first birthday, and the second dose at 3 years 4 months, and preferably before starting school full time.

It’s never too late to catch up on your MMR vaccines, so if you’ve missed having your MMR, just contact your GP to arrange your vaccine. If you’re not sure of your vaccine status, don’t worry, you can have another MMR vaccine or both vaccines, you just need to have them one month apart.

Anyone with symptoms that could be measles is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E. This is because measles spreads very quickly and easily and so it is important to try and prevent the illness spreading further.

For Champions

Champions are being called upon to help spread the message about the importance of MMR vaccination. The key message is that getting vaccinated is the best protection against becoming seriously unwell and helps prevent measles spreading in the community. If you are unsure of your child’s vaccination status, check their red book or contact their GP to get this checked, it is never too late to catch up.

You can find images to share alongside these messages here.