Parents urged to get children vaccinated if going abroad

Theresa Paddon with her two children, Lee, 18 months, and Darren, three, at their home in Leigh Park

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PARENTS planning to travel over the Easter holidays are being urged to get their children vaccinated.

NHS Hampshire says it’s vital children are protected against vaccine- preventable diseases such as measles before travelling abroad.

It comes after the World Health Organisation reported cases of measles in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland. Turkey also recently reported an outbreak in Istanbul and there was a large outbreak in Bulgaria last year. Smaller outbreaks have also occurred in Russia and France.

Measles is highly infectious and easily spread by coughing or sneezing. If a child has not had two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines it’s likely they will get measles if they come into contact with the virus.

Noeleen McFarland, immunisation co-ordinator at NHS Hampshire, said: ‘Measles, mumps and rubella are entirely preventable through vaccination. However, if caught they can be serious for babies, young children, pregnant women and their families.

‘Measles in particular can be dangerous and cause complications such as pneumonia and brain damage. It can also kill. Mumps can result in meningitis and encephalitis. Rubella can lead to congenital rubella syndrome and rubella-associated miscarriages.’