I met with Dr Virginia Pearson, the Director of Public Health for Devon Primary Care Trust and Devon County Council and we discussed a recent outbreak of measles at a school in Ashburton which has highlighted the risk to communities where immunisation levels fall below the levels needed to prevent this highly contagious disease spreading amongst those who have not been protected through vaccination. Whilst some people dismiss measles as just a harmless childhood virus, the reality is that even in healthy children it is very unpleasant and in a minority of cases can lead to deafness, inflammation of the brain and long term damage. NHS Devon has launched a campaign, which I fully support, to encourage parents to take a few minutes at the start of the summer holidays to visit their surgery to talk about vaccination.
Many children missed out on the vital second dose of MMR and parents may be wrongly assuming that their children are protected by having had a single dose. I would urge them to think about having the booster to protect them against the increasing risk of measles.