Dear Parent / Guardian
Re: Confirmed cases of measles in London
We write to inform you that there have been cases of measles reported in children in London in the past three months. Measles is a highly infectious disease, one in every ten children who catch measles need hospital care and the disease can lead to serious complications. Please help us control this infection and prevent further cases by ensuring your children are up to date with their MMR immunisation.
Signs and symptoms
The first symptoms of measles include irritability, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes), cough and increasing fever that comes and goes. These symptoms may last up to 8 days. The rash starts from day 4 and lasts 4-7 days. It usually starts on the forehead and spreads downwards over the face, neck and body. You can see flat red or brown blotches which can flow into each other.
Please inform your GP by telephone if you believe your child has developed measles. Your GP will offer you advice and will also contact our office.
Please inform the school office if your child has suspected measles. Children are infectious before the rash appears and for several days after the rash appears so they should not return to school until at least 4 days after their rash began.
Two doses of the MMR immunisation is the safest way you can protect your child from measles, mumps and rubella. The vaccine may protect your child from getting the disease if it is given within 72 hours after contact with someone with measles.
If your child has not had two doses of MMR, please contact your GP to make an appointment as soon as possible. The second dose can be given after 1 month of having had the first dose. If you do not know whether they have had two doses of MMR, please call your GP practice to check.
If your family is not registered with a GP, register now and make sure your child is protected by having the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is free on the NHS and is available from your GP in London.
More information can also be found online at NHS Choices, regarding both measles and the MMR vaccination: www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx
Dr Deborah Turbitt
Deputy Regional Director for Health Protection
PHE London Integrated Region & Centre