Eight cases of measles have been confirmed in the Edinburgh area in the last two weeks and NHS Lothian is encouraging people to ensure that they are fully immunised against the virus.
The majority of these cases have links to the University of Edinburgh. NHS Lothian is getting in touch with people who have been in contact with the confirmed cases and is setting up clinics for those requiring an MMR vaccine.
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness and anyone who has not been vaccinated is at risk of infection. People with a higher risk of complications include those who are immunosuppressed, pregnant women and young children.
The MMR vaccine is routinely given to children aged 12 to 15 months with a booster given between three and five years of age.
Measles symptoms can take up to two weeks to develop and include runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis and fever followed by a rash. Anyone who develops signs of the illness should limit their contact with other people, and call their GP by phone in the first instance (or NHS24 on 111 if out of hours).
Professor Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian, said: “It is crucial that people have two doses of the MMR vaccine. Children and young people may have missed out on one or two doses when they were younger and we would urge parents to get their child or children immunised with MMR. We would also encourage young people who have missed out on MMR previously to get themselves immunised.”
A University spokesman said: “The University is working closely with NHS Lothian to minimise the spread. We are taking appropriate action including supporting additional vaccinations on campus for those who need them.
“Students and staff who have been fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine or who have had measles before are reminded that they are not at risk. We will continue to monitor the situation.”