Actual Confirmed Measles Cases in UK

According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) only 13 cases of measlesAn infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus. with onset dates between January and March 2010 have been confirmed in England and Wales. All were from the southern half of England with six cases identified in the South East region, four in the East of England, two in the South West region and one in London.

Nine of the 13 cases were associated with travel abroad (Ireland (3), India (2), France (2), Italy, and Ethiopia). In addition, a further two cases without any travel history were identified to have measles virusA microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells. strains not previously seen in the UK, suggesting contact with someone who has been infected abroad, although no contact was identified. None were known to have been vaccinated.

Six of the cases so far this year have been in adults over 20 years of age, including a healthcare worker who has been identified as non-immune in occupational health screeningA way to identify people who may have a certain condition, among a group of people who may or may not seem to.

Measles outbreaks normally happen every year in May and in the last four years the May peak can affect as many as 200 people. Full report.

Is Measles Dangerous?

Unless you are seriously malnourished or have a faulty immune systemThe organs specialised to fight infection. you are extremely unlikely to die of measles. The fatality rate from measles for otherwise healthy people in developed countries is 3 deaths per thousand cases, or 0.3%. On the other hand, in underdeveloped nations with high rates of malnutritionThe condition that occurs if insufficient nutients, vitamins and minerals are eaten to maintain good health. and poor healthcare, fatality rates have been as high as 28%. In immunocompromised patients (e.g. people with AIDSAcquired immune deficiency syndrome, a deficiency of the immune system due to infection with HIV.) the fatality rate is approximately 30%.

Diagnosis

Clinical diagnosisThe process of determining which condition a patient may have. of measles requires a history of feverThe raising of the body temperature above norma, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as shivering, headache and sweating. of at least three days together with at least one of the three C's (cough, coryza, conjunctivitisInflammation of the transparent membrane covering the white of the eye, causing redness, discomfort and discharge.). Observation of Koplik's spots is also diagnostic of measles.

Alternatively, laboratory diagnosis of measles can be done with confirmation of positive measles IgM antibodiesSpecial proteins in the blood that are produced in response to a specific antigen and play a key role in immunity and allergy. or isolation of measles virus RNA from respiratory specimens. In children, where phlebotomy (bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. sampling) is inappropriate, saliva can be collected for a test known as - salivary measles specific IgA, where IgA is the form of antibodyOne of a group of special proteins in the blood that are produced in response to a specific antigen and play a key role in immunity and allergy. normally found in saliva. Positive contact with other patients known to have measles adds strong epidemiological evidence to the diagnosis. The contact with any infected person in any way, including semen through sex, saliva, or mucus can cause infectionInvasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites..

The leading clinical UK experts for measles in children can be contacted at Great Ormond Street Hospital or The Portland Hospital for Women & Children.

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