The Return of Measles Part 2- Swansea

Swansea Measles Epidemic

Some time ago I wrote a piece called ‘The Return of Measles’ which involved the current measles outbreak in several parts of the country. In today’s piece I will not go into avid details about measles as it can all be found just one page across from here and I’m sure like me you hate reading the same thing over and over again!

Currently Swansea is one of the worst affected areas with cases rising from 500 to approximately 600 in just 5 days. Doctors report 15-20 newly confirmed cases each day. Unsurprisingly at the beginning of the outbreak there were about 7000 unvaccinated children around the area. However the current outbreak does not mean that the problem lies with the current vaccination programme, rather the problem is a result of the hysteria whipped up by Dr Andrew Wakefield; the medic who published a paper linking the MMR jab to increased risks of Autism in children. However this paper has since been discredited. The fear created by the paper, as well as the subsequent media coverage, caused immunisation rates to plummet by 12% in the years 1995-2004.

The current epidemic is said to be the biggest fallout from the Wakefield scare as even though immunisation rates have gone up since the discrediting of Wakefield’s paper, those children who were due to be vaccinated between 1998 and 2008 were not immunised and are those at highest risk. This was probably due to parents simply forgetting that they had decided against vaccination which has now led to a large amount of children being vulnerable. It was just a powder keg waiting for a spark.

On the brighter side, 1720 people were immunised last weekend in special drop-in clinics held in Swansea, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot. GP surgeries will also be holding clinics this week with more drop-in sessions to be held on Saturday. The demand for the jab was reportedly 50% higher than expected according to Public Health Wales, with hundreds queuing at hospitals for the vaccine, some even unwisely deciding that the lines were too long. It is good to see parents showing real concern for their children in light of the outbreak. So to any parents reading this I strongly urge you to go and get your child vaccinated as soon as possible as measles can be fatal and statistically at least one child will die in this epidemic. Don’t let it be your child. Or if I have to say it in Welsh: Cer a’ch plenty i gael eu brechu cyn gyndet a phosibl.

P.S. Thank you Anya for the translation.

Matt