News Release



November 2017

Measles outbreak in Greater Manchester


Public Health England North West is working with partners following confirmed measles in children who live in Greater Manchester.


Jeff Scott, from the PHE Greater Manchester Health Protection Team, said: “Measles is a very infectious virus and can spread rapidly among communities, such as schools, if people have not been fully immunised.


"While most people who catch measles will recover completely within a couple of weeks, it's important to remember measles can be a very serious illness that can leave permanent disability, and occasionally even kill.


“I would appeal to any parents who have not yet had their children vaccinated to get them protected as soon as possible through their GP. Children should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine for maximum protection and MMR not only protects them, but also limits the chances of the virus spreading more widely, for example to children who are too young to have the vaccine and to adults who may be more vulnerable to the disease. MMR is a highly effective and safe vaccine.”


PHE advises people with symptoms of measles to:


  • Stay away from school, nursery or work until five days have elapsed after the onset of a rash.

  • Telephone your GP or NHS walk-in centre before attending so that arrangements can be made for you to be treated in a separate area to prevent spread to other vulnerable patients.

  • Avoid contact with people generally, but particularly babies, pregnant women and anyone who is known to have poor immunity to infection.





    Notes to Editors:


    What is measles?


    Measles is a viral infection most commonly found in young children who have not been immunised. However, adults can also catch measles if they have not had it before or have not been immunised against it.


    It begins with fever that lasts for a couple of days followed by a cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes). The rash starts on the face and upper neck, spreads down the upper body and then extends to the arms, hands, legs and feet. After about 5 days the rash starts to fade.


    How serious is measles?


    Measles is an unpleasant illness and easily passed from one person to another. In some people it can cause complications, such as ear infection, chest infections and even pneumonia. In very rare cases some people who get measles can develop serious complications, which can be fatal.


    How do you catch measles?


    The measles virus lives in the nose and throat of infected people. Measles is caught through direct contact with an infected person or through the air when he or she coughs or sneezes. A person with measles can infect other people from the day before they become unwell until 5 days after the rash appears.


    How is measles treated? What is the MMR vaccination?


    There is no specific treatment for measles, but measles can be prevented by a highly effective vaccine. This is part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunisation programme. Two doses of MMR vaccine give solid protection against measles, mumps and rubella. The first dose is given to toddlers at the age of 13 months and the second at approximately 40 months, before the child goes to school.


    MMR can also be given to older children, teenagers and young adults if they missed out on vaccination as toddlers. It’s never too late and people who aren’t sure if they were vaccinated as children should ask their family doctors, who will advise if immunisation is appropriate.


    A scientific paper authored by Andrew Wakefield and 12 others, which appeared in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998 and implied a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, was disproved and retracted by the journal in 2010.


    What to do to avoid passing on the infection:


    Limit your contacts with other people, particularly those who are:


  • pregnant
  • children who are under 12 months or have not had the MMR vaccine
  • people who have weak immune systems
  • if you have measles, do not go to school or work for 5 days from when the rash first appeared and inform your school or employer immediately


Who is at risk from complications?


Anyone can be susceptible to complications from measles; however complications resulting from measles are more likely to develop in some children, for example:


  • children with a weakened immune system, such as those with leukaemia or HIV/AIDS
  • children with a poor diet
  • children under the age of 5 years
  • complications are also more likely to develop in adults who are over the age of 20


Complications of measles include:


  • pneumonia
  • ear and eye infections
  • croup (an infection of the lungs and throat)


What if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant?


If you are planning to get pregnant and you have not had measles yet, you should arrange with your GP to have the MMR vaccine. If you catch measles during pregnancy, it can be passed on to your baby and can be very damaging, or even fatal. Measles in pregnancy can cause miscarriage, premature labour or a baby with low birth weight. The MMR jab cannot be given during pregnancy.



  1. PHE exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

Public Health England Press Office North West


Tel: 0344 225 0562 option 5 (includes out-of-hours) Follow us on Twitter @PHE_NorthWest








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Middleton Parish CE Primary School

Springfield Road, Middleton
Manchester M24 5DL

Tel: 0161 643 0753
Fax: 0161 643 0753

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