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Published On: Sun, Apr 21st, 2013

Wales measles outbreak exceeds 900, one death being investigated

The measles outbreak centered in Swansea, Wales continues on a pace of 20 a day according to the Public Health Wales director, and the total number of measles notifications in Wales has climbed to 903 cases, according to the latest data, with 808 cases reported in Mid and West Wales alone.

Map of Wales Public domain image/ Astrotrain at the English Wikipedia project

Map of Wales
Public domain image/ Astrotrain at the English Wikipedia project

In addition, on Thursday, a 25-year-old Swansea man, Gareth Williams died, and laboratory tests have confirmed he was positive for the viral disease.

However, it is not clear if measles was in fact the cause of death.

Director of Health Protection, Public Health Wales, Dr Marion Lyons addressed the issue, “Public Health Wales laboratory tests have today confirmed a diagnosis of measles in a 25-year-old male from Swansea who died on Thursday 18 April.

“The tests confirm only that the deceased had measles at the time of his death.  Further investigations are being undertaken by the Swansea Coroner to establish the cause of death.

“My sympathies are with the family at such a tragic time.  Whatever the cause of death in this case, we should not be surprised if, as the outbreak grows, we start to see deaths in Wales.

“Measles is a potentially fatal disease and around one in every 1,000 people who contracts measles in developed countries will die.”

The BBC reports that more than 1,800 people have attended drop-in MMR clinics at four hospitals in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot since the announcement of Williams death.

Dr Lyons continues the warning  to citizens, “Those not fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR are highly likely to catch measles, which is highly contagious. We know that there are unprotected people in all age groups but we have particular concerns about the 10 to 18 age group.  We are therefore urging all parents of children who have missed doses of MMR to arrange vaccination for them as a matter of urgency.

“The MMR vaccine is recommended by the World Health Organization, UK Department of Health and Public Health Wales as the most effective and safe way to protect children against measles. The alarming numbers of cases of measles and continuing spread of the disease in Wales illustrates how vital it is for parents to get their children vaccinated.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today.

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