Measles Epidemic 2013

I normally stay well away from controversial subjects as I dislike confrontation. However, I have always felt very passionate about the MMR and parents' responsibility to protect their children through immunisations. I did not spend nine months carefully growing The Boy and go through that labour to bring my child safely into the world, to have his health compromised unnecessarily.

South Wales is currently seeing an epidemic of measles with a huge reach. Until now it's been fairly safely ensconsed around the Swansea area, but today I had an e-mail from The Boy's nursery. Measles is spreading very quickly through the schools in the area as many of the pupils have had their first MMR but not the preschool booster. I wonder if parents think that it is something which only needs to be given once? I know that The Boy should have had his preschool booster around Christmas time (3 years and 4 months), but because of his constant ear infections and low immune system due to repeat courses of antibiotics, I spoke to the nurse and delayed it until around now. He should have had it last week, but we were in Butlins and missed the appointment. Following this alert from his nursery, I will be phoning the GP in the morning to get him 'jabbed' as soon as possible.

The alert from the Health Protection Team for Public Health Wales, states that a few cases have been seen locally. That means it's spreading from Swansea, and they have serious concerns about an outbreak in schools. The alert states that if our children have not had their preschool booster, or (when older) have missed a vaccination, that parents must contact the GP, health visitor or practice nurse to be vaccinated now!

This is the exact wording from the Health Protection Team's alert:

Measles is highly infectious and is spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes. Early symptoms include a cough, cold, high temperature and conjunctivitis (painful, red eyes). A red, blotchy rash appears 3-7 days later which usually begins on the face and spreads down over the rest of the body. The person is usually quite ill and often prefers to lie quietly in a darkened room. Serious complications can occur.

Any child who develops symptoms of measles should not attend school for four days after the start of the rash.

It is not for me to tell you to get your child immunised, but so far there have been 541 cases of measles in south Wales, with 100 of those in the last week alone.

For more information on Measles, please visit the Public Health Wales site here.

The BBC news report can be found here.

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    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I'm sure you'll get a notification from the nurse in four months time when Addy needs to have his done, thanks for commenting.

  1. says

    its a lot of children. the thing that worries us is that for Bob and others like him who cannot have the injections who get really ill because other parents wont get their otherwise fit and healthy children a few seconds of discomfort.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      It's actually now been identified as 6000 children in the Swansea area who haven't been immunised but should have been. And what you say is a key point, we need to protect vulnerable children and adults just as much as our own.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Hope he doesn't have too severe a reaction from it, I'm waiting for a few small side-effects this weekend as he did have them with his first one.

  2. says

    Vital post. Immunisation is so important and it's shocking that in GB where we are so lucky to be able to have immunisations those choose not to making for many poorly children. So sad.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      You're right it is very sad, so many people who can't be immunised due to health reasons and who should be protected by others who can be.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      They absolutely have, I think that there are some people who don't immunise because of Andrew Wakefield's idiocy yet don't actually know what it was about or why it's nonsense.

  3. says

    Thanks for this. I must admit to being worried about my little girl. Bud has had the first MMR but won't be due for his booster for a few months. It saddens me when children aren't immunized who can be. There are people all over the world who would snatch the hand off someone offering their children the preventative medicine we have freely available in this country.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      You're quite right, to not take advantage of this simple vaccine is daft. And as Elaine said above, there are some who can't be immunised for health reasons and rely on the rest of society to protect them.

  4. says

    I personally feel the same. My friend's 12 month old was hospitalised with measles recently. It is an awful illness to have and those who have not immunised are putting the vulnerable at risk. But the health authority should be informing parents there should be two jabs shouldn't they. We haven't had luka's letter through so will join you in being proactive.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      We had notification of the need for the second a couple of months ago, but due to his constant ear infections I didn't want to make him even more ill through side-effects exacerbated with a pre-existing illness. i'm glad he's had it now and I feel easier. I've just found out that there's a case in our neighbouring school and I'm sure it's only a matter of time that one will appear in ours :-(

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Through sheer ignorance this illness is on its way back and it alarms me that in the 21st century we haven't eradicated it in Britain.

  5. says

    The Boy and Me, this is a very well written post, which sticks purely to the facts, allowing parents to make their own decision. It's great considering it is a very emotive subject.

    As you know, I feel differently and sit on the other side of the fence.

    I only want to remind people of one thing, which is that vaccination is not necessarily immunisation, and even when successful, is not necessarily forever either.

    When making the decision to get the jabs, people should always do lots of research to make themselves aware of contra-indicators, as you did, in the example you gave above.

    I worry when people go to vaccination open days (without an appointment) that they don't get the one-to-one time necessary to be informed about contra-indications, that make vaccine injury more likely.

    All the best,
    Liska xx

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      This is a very good point, research is such an easy thing to do now that all parents should read up about vaccines before taking part. And you're right, mass vaccinations don't allow for that time, but I guess when there's been 600 cases in a few months, 150 within the past fortnight and over 6000 children not vaccinated, they just want to try and control the spread.

      • Warren says

        Quote of the day by Ann Widdecombe, Former Tory Minister, writing in the Express:-

        "IF parents are refusing to vaccinate their children with the combined MMR because they are afraid of autism and the state is really concerned about an epidemic of measles then the solution is obvious: make the single vaccines available to all instead of just to those who can afford them."

        Anyone got a credible response?

        • TheBoyAndMe says

          I don't care whether children are vaccinated with the MMR or the single vaccines, just that they are vaccinated. I didn't think the single vaccine was licensed in this country though?

  6. says

    I agree it's a very important issue. As parents I think we have a responsibility to other children (not only our own) too. It's having a high immunity rate that protects babies and other vunerable groups who aren't old enough to have the jab or can't have it for medical reasons. It also protects those who have had the first jab and not the second (because not old enough) who haven't got full immunity. If you don't vaccinate your child (I think it's fine to do separate jabs if you see it through – it would have been my preferred option, but not available locally), not only could your own child get very ill and have long lasting consequences, but so could other children. I wouldn't want that on my conscience.

    That said I think there needs to be a better chase up procedure. I never received a call up for a preschool booster for my son, but got him vaccinated before he started school. Apparently (according to the local grapevine) there was some sort of printing problem with the letters at our local surgery, but they never did a catch up exercise – it's simply not good enough to put children at risk like that.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      You're right, it is not good enough for the doctor's surgery not to have chased that up. And I agree that as parents we have a responsibility to help protect the more vulnerable members of society.

  7. says

    Thank you for posting this. It's reminded me to chase up Princess Pants' per-school booster as she is now 3years and 4 months.

    I agree with all their jabs whole-heartedly. :)

    MH xxx

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks for posting, it's great to see so many people agree it's important. It's a shame that the 6000 children in Swansea who are unvaccinated don't have parents who think the same thing.

  8. says

    I'm totally with you. I once had a HUGE row on a Volkswagen friends' Facebook page with a woman about jabs, then stunningly it turned out she lived less than a mile from me. Her son is at school with mine now. I'm going to take pleasure in announcing loudly in the queue at school on Monday morning that we've just spent a week away and my little one has a rash (he's had chicken pox, it'll look pink and blotchy by Monday). I hope she panics, I really do. Just like all those parents of children who can't be immunised for age or whatever other reason will be panicking now due to the stupidity and selfishness of her and others like her.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I do suspect that the vast majority of people who don't immunise their children do it through stupidity, there are a small amount of informed parents who've weighed up the risks intelligently. I still don't agree with them, but I can understand their decision more.

  9. says

    I think the big thing this outbreak shows is the seriousness of the illnesses they are protecting our children from, because they have become so rare people forgot how seriously ill they could make children.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Exactly! And I don't want a world where I'm frightened for my child's health when the preventative cures have existed for decades.

  10. Warren says

    With Health Official no doubt extremely concerned about this terrible outbreak of such a deadly virus, and with the indisputable evidence that so many children have not been vaccinated due to concerns following the establishment-disgraced quack, Andrew Wakefield (who dared to suggest that a few people might suffer a reaction to the MMR vaccine) saying that MMR might lead to autism, I really can't wait for the announcement by these oh-so-concerned Health Official about how they have rushed to reintroduce the single Measles jab that was proven effective at quashing the disease pre-MMR.

    Sorry? What's that you say? Us middle-class, chattering morons can't be trusted with just one vaccine – we might "forget" to immunise our kids against mumps & german measles if we are actually allowed to vaccinate our kids against measles.

    Or, what's the next piece of propaganda bull***t aimed at convincing us that its MMR or nothing – and if we choose nothing (as opposed to the effective but too costly single measles jab) then its our fault and nothing to do with the money-concscious Health Official annoyed that we will not be sheep and do as we are told.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks for your comment, I can understand your passion for it and it is a topic that really sparks debate. The only thing that I do feel is important is that it's a parents responsibility to protect their children; whether they choose to do that through a single vaccine or the MMR then I don't care, as long as they do it. Furthermore, it's society's responsibility to protect the weak and vulnerable; there are some who can't be immunised and as part of a community we should ensure we do what is needed to prevent the spread to those who can't protect themself.

  11. rebecca says

    I'm so angry that parents who don't care are putting my children at risk. Just had my 2 & 1/2 yr old his 2nd jab yesterday early but my 3 month old is possibly unprotected, hopefully has some immunity off me. It's the easter hols. We r basically house bound because I don't want to risk my babies life. I have 1 bored 7yr old also who can't understand why we can't go to play place or the park. Am I neurotic? Or do I just care that after growing my 3 beautiful babies I want them around. Sorry for ranting but who wouldn't immunise their children. I don't understand.

    • Warren says


      It is not a question of "irresponsible" parents NOT wanting to protect/immunise their children – if anything, it is quite the reverse. They REALLY want to immunise by simply cannot get a straight answer to a straight question:-

      "if measles was in decline with the old vaccine, and if certain parents feel unsure about MMR (regardless of the reason as that really doesn't change the fact), why do these oh-so-concerned Health Officials belligerently refuse to reintroduce the old, single vaccine?"

      There is simply not a single chemical anywhere in the universe that would not cause a reaction; a side-effect; an adverse condition in SOMEONE/SOMEWHERE. We are all different. There is not a scientist in the world that would dispute that fact, nor that the same applies to vaccines – they will always be some people that react badly, however small that % of those given the vaccine is.

      Tell any Medical Practitioner that you are allergic to Penicillin (neary 100 years old) or to peanuts (whilst billions munch them quite happily and unaffected), and it will NOT be questioned.

      However, dare to suggest that your child might be allergic to MMR – and the whole of Hell is unleashed on you!!

      Just like Penicillin, there is (was) a very effective alternative to MMR – it was the old Measles jab – yet unlike Penicillin, you are NOT allowed to have this alternative on the NHS.

      It is this belligerent refusal to provide the alternative that so many are demanding (as proved by the lack of take-up of MMR); the constant drum-banging that MMR is 100% safe when no other vaccine has ever been so-declared; and the inability to give a credible reason why parents cannot get the old jab that puts the fault squarely & fairly at the door of the Health Officials, and not, as you suggest, at the door of other parents!

      • TheBoyAndMe says

        To be fair to Rebecca she didn't use the word 'irresponsible', she said that she was frustrated because her baby is vulnerable and she is worried about that, and that she didn't understand why someone wouldn't vaccinate their child.

        I do understand the educated reasoning behind the refusal, and to parents who spend a lot of time researching it and asking for the single vaccine as an alternative to the MMR, then I (almost) respect their diligence and decision. However, I'm not sure that the parents of the 6000 unvaccinated children in the Swansea area have done this level of research, I suspect it is ignorance for the vast majority, or the misguided belief in Andrew Wakefield's unproven and unfounded Autism link.

        You are quite right that of course there are side-effects for some people, proportionately small but they're there. In the wake of the spreading epidemic and with a neighbouring school having cases of measles, I chose to use the MMR vaccine. Yes it would be nice if the single vaccine was available, but it's not on the NHS. And I'd personally rather have my child in my life with a side-effect than not here at all because I didn't vaccinate him.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I can perfectly understand your feelings, and it is those who can't be immunised because they're too young or of ill-health that benefit from our children having the vaccine as well; it's our responsibility to help protect society.

      Thanks for your comment.


  1. […] is currently a measles epidemic in South Wales which Whiskey For Aftershave has written about and The Boy and Me. They both live in Wales so are writing from having personal experience of being near to the […]

  2. […] is currently a measles epidemic in South Wales which Whiskey For Aftershave has written about and The Boy and Me. They both live in Wales so are writing from having personal experience of being near to the […]

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