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Public health director at Nottinghamshire County Council warns that measles is coming closer to Nottinghamshire

Measles is “coming closer” to Nottinghamshire, a public health boss at Nottinghamshire County Council has warned.

Measles can cause severe illness, with 20 to 40 per cent of children who get it needing hospital treatment.

But public health leaders are worried that low vaccination rates could mean outbreaks become difficult to manage.

Nottinghamshire County Council offices
Nottinghamshire County Council offices

Highly infectious and starting with cold-like symptoms leading on to a rash, Measles can sometimes cause complications such as pneumonia and meningitis.

The free MMR vaccine is highly effective at reducing severe cases, but the Nottinghamshire vaccination rate as a whole is 86 per cent. NHS leaders want to see the rate reach 100 per cent.

And NHS figures show nationally the vaccine uptake is at its lowest since 2010-11.

Government data shows in the four weeks since January 29, there have been 183 confirmed measles cases, with the West Midlands accounting for the majority of cases.

A total of 18 of the 183 cases were in the East Midlands.

The issue was discussed at a Nottinghamshire County Council health committee meeting on March 4.

Councillor Dr John Doddy asked if the public health team at the council had “made sufficient provision for the likelihood of a measles outbreak”.

He said: “The Midlands has had hundreds of cases in one month compared to normally 100 cases a year.

“It is a public health issue how we have managed to drift to the mid-80s in terms of vaccination rates for MMR.

“Are we identifying problems amongst travellers groups, immigrants and various European populations?

“There’s a huge challenge with vaccinations in the present moment.

“Measles is a deadly disease, it is in the Midlands at the moment and it is heading towards the East Midlands.”

Vivienne Robbins, deputy director of Public Health for the authority, said a “significant amount of work” is being done in preparation for measles.

She said: “We haven’t got any confirmed cases yet but we know that measles is coming closer.

“Before we saw it very much in big cities, we know that some of our neighbours in the East Midlands are seeing much higher cases.

“We are absolutely preparing ourselves in terms of preventative work about where lower portions of vaccination uptake are.

“The offer of vaccination is open to all. The best way to protect yourself is to have the two MMR vaccinations.”

Councillor Roger Jackson said: “The MMR vaccination is a very important message as it has got a little bit lost in the ether.”

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