Measles cases on the rise
THE number of measles cases in the county has soared.
There were 62 confirmed cases of measles between October 2012 and January 2013.
The number has increased from just five throughout 2011.
Health experts are now urging residents to check their vaccination history.
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They confirmed that more people were being hospitalised because of the illness.
The message from the Health Protection Agency is for anyone born after 1988 when the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine was first introduced.
They are urging people to check they had received the required two doses to make the vaccine effective.
Dr David Hunt, from the South West Health Protection Unit, said: "It is important to remember that measles isn't a harmless childhood disease for some and this is why we have seen hospitalisations in Gloucestershire.
"Thankfully all have now fully recovered and have been discharged.
"However, these hospitalisations reinforce how important it is to make sure that you and your children are protected.
"That is why we are urging the community to make sure children are fully immunised and have had both doses of the MMR vaccine."
Measles is caused by a very infectious virus which typically causes rash, cold-like symptoms, cough, red eyes and high fever.
About one in every 15 children with measles will develop more serious complications.
These can include ear and chest infections, fits, diarrhoea, encephalitis – an infection of the brain – and brain damage.
Anyone who needs advice or is not sure about their vaccination history should contact the practice nurse at their GP practice.
MMR vaccination is part of the routine child immunisation programme, one dose is given at 13 months and a second pre-school booster is given before school.
Dr Jeremy Welch, Tewkesbury GP and member of the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Shadow Board, said people should be vigilant if they recognised the symptoms, as the disease could spread quickly.
"Measles is a highly infectious and potentially dangerous illness which spreads very easily," the doctor said.
"If you have missed out on the MMR vaccination in the past it's always possible for a catch-up. Just contact your GP."
Advice for sufferers is to keep away from school, work and hospitals and away from others for five days from when symptoms, such as a rash, first appear.