The number of people catching measles is rising in Greater Manchester 

Measles is a very infectious disease – just a cough or sneeze can spread the virus to other people. It spreads easily and quickly among those who are not vaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. 

Measles can be very dangerous. One in five people with measles will go to hospital, and in very rare cases, people can die from the disease. People in certain at-risk groups, including babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications from measles. 

If you think you or your child may have measles, stay at home and phone your GP practice or NHS 111 for advice. Stay away from GP surgeries, A&E departments and other healthcare venues. People with measles should stay off nursery, school, or work for at least 4 days from when the rash first appears. 

Signs and symptoms 

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth. The first symptoms of measles include a high temperature, a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, a cough and red, sore, watery eyes. Small white spots may appear inside the cheeks and on the back of the lips a few days later. These spots usually last a few days. A rash usually appears a few days after the cold-like symptoms. 

Getting vaccinated 

There’s no specific medical treatment for measles, so it’s important to get the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The MMR vaccination is a safe way to protect yourself and your children. You will also be protected against mumps and rubella, which can be very serious. Measles is not just a childhood disease and can be serious at any age. If caught during pregnancy it can cause stillbirth, miscarriage and low birth weight. There is no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccination and autism. You can also ask for an MMR vaccination that contains no pork ingredients if you would like one. 

Parents who are unsure if their child is up to date with all of their routine immunisations should check their child’s Red Book (personal child health record), check the NHS app, or contact their GP practice. If children have not had their vaccinations, their GP can arrange a vaccination free of charge. Adults who are unsure of their own vaccination status can speak to their GP, who will arrange for a catch-up immunisation if necessary – this is also free of charge.