7 February 2024
The risk of measles outbreaks across London in the coming months is high. MMR vaccination rates in Waltham Forest and London have fallen over the last decade, and this makes schools vulnerable to measles outbreaks. The most effective measure anyone can take is to get vaccinated, and it’s never too late to do this. Measles is highly infectious and can be a really serious illness: One in five children who get measles require a hospital visit and one in fifteen are affected by life-limiting conditions such as blindness, meningitis and sepsis.
Responding to measles in your school
If you do have any cases of measles in the school or setting, you will be contacted by UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) to let you know and to provide advice. If you become aware of a case of measles at your setting, contact the North East and North Central London Health Protection Team (NENCL HPT) at UKHSA as soon as possible (email: email@example.com phone: 0300 303 0450). Confirmed and suspected cases should be excluded from school for four full days after their rash onset. Susceptible contacts of cases (for example unvaccinated siblings) are at high risk of developing measles and should be advised to self-exclude from school for the incubation period (21 days). After speaking with UKHSA, headteachers may wish to consider excluding unvaccinated pupils who have been exposed, because of the risk to other students.
If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact our Public Health team (Public.Health@walthamforest.gov.uk).
Please share the following information with your parents and staff about how to protect themselves and their children from measles.
Message to share with parents and staff
Measles cases are rising in the UK, and it is likely that there will be outbreaks across London. There have already been large outbreaks of measles in North West London and the West Midlands in 2023. Measles is highly infectious – one case of measles can infect 90% of unvaccinated close contacts (this includes those they share a classroom with). It can also be a really serious illness: for every five children who get measles, one will require a hospital visit; for every fifteen children who get measles, one will be affected by life-limiting conditions, such as blindness, meningitis and sepsis.
The safest and most effective way to protect yourself, the children you care for and your community against measles is to make sure that you and your children are up to date with MMR vaccinations. Two doses of the MMR vaccine provide 99% protection against measles. It is never too late to get your MMR vaccination and you can check whether you or your children are up to date with your vaccinations by contacting your GP or by looking in your child’s red book. If you haven’t been fully vaccinated (two doses of MMR) then you can get vaccinated at your GP practice. Secondary school-aged children can also get vaccinated at weekend clinics run by Vaccination UK (book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (+44) 01462 427 008). Halal MMR vaccinations are available and can be requested when you make an appointment.
For more information about measles and the MMR vaccine see below: