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'Vital to vaccinate'
A CONFIRMED case of rubella in a child from Hampshire has prompted health chiefs to stress the importance of having the MMR vaccination.
A second suspected case of rubella has also been picked up in another Hampshire child. Neither child attends school in the county nor has had the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination.
Rubella, otherwise known as German measles, has devastating effects in pregnant women and, if contracted in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, is likely to result in the child being born blind or deaf, or with severe learning difficulties or heart defects. It can also lead to a miscarriage.
Yet latest figures show that on December 31 last year not all children in the Basingstoke area had received the MMR vaccination.
In the borough 91.7 per cent of children had had one dose by the age of two and 86.7 per cent of children had two doses by the age of five. For full protection from measles people should receive two doses of MMR vaccine.
Dr Ruth Milton, on behalf of the Directors of Public Health for the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth PCT Cluster, said: “Rubella can be prevented by two doses of the MMR vaccine, usually given at 13 months and 3-4 years. The vaccine is safe to give at any age if you are not pregnant or severely immunocompromised.
“Rubella is infectious from seven days before to six days after the onset of the rash. It’s important that people who might have rubella do not have any contact with vulnerable individuals for six days after the rash appears. However, it’s also important to bear in mind that as many as half of people infected may display no symptoms or signs of the infection.
“Rubella is usually a mild illness in healthy, non-pregnant individuals. The effects of infection in pregnancy can be very serious, which is why it is so important for women to be immunised.”
For more information about rubella visit nhs.uk/conditions/rubella/pages/introduction.aspx.