Young festivalgoers and tourists heading to Europe have been urged to make sure their measles vaccinations are up to date. The warning from the RCN follows a 400% increase in the number of cases reported in Europe, with Greece, Romania, France and Italy particularly badly affected. The College believes that those now in their early twenties are particularly vulnerable to infection, as they may have missed out on getting an MMR jab after the discredited vaccination scare of the late 90s.
“Measles is extremely infectious, especially where large crowds of people gather such as at festivals or in towns. Thanks to vaccination it’s become increasingly rare in the UK, but recent increases in infection rates shows we can’t be complacent,” said Helen Donovan, Professional Lead for Public Health Nursing at the Royal College of Nursing.
Measles is easily spread through airborne or droplet transmission, symptoms can include conjunctivitis, a cough or fever before the rash appears. This generally clears in 10 days but can lead to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia or encephalitis in a few cases.“Before you go on holiday this summer, make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations,” Ms Donovan advised holidaymakers. “Getting immunised is quick and simple – an appointment with your practice nurse will only take a few minutes. The MMR vaccine is free and will help prevent the spread of a particularly infectious and unpleasant disease.”