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Information about measles from Cornwall Council Public Health Protection team

Dear colleague,

Cases of measles are rising across England, including among children. It’s an infection that spreads very easily and for some people can cause serious problems. It is particularly easy to catch in environments when in close contact with others, such as nurseries and schools. There are currently large outbreaks in London and Birmingham, and we have experienced some outbreaks in the south-west already. We anticipate that it is only a matter of time before we see measles outbreaks in Cornwall.

The best protection against measles for children and adults is to get both doses of the MMR vaccine, and we would like your help sharing information with parents and staff in your workplace about MMR and measles.

Key messages

  • MMR is a preschool vaccination normally given at 12 months and 3 year 4 months to protect against Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Parents and guardians should be encouraged to check their children’s MMR status in their red book, or contact their GP practice as soon as possible if they are not sure.
  • Staff should be made aware that it is never too late to catch up on any missed MMR vaccinations, and they should contact their GP to book an appointment.
  • Symptoms include a high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash.
  • Measles often starts as cold-like symptoms. NHS guidance says it is fine to send a child to school with a minor cough or common cold, provided they don’t have a temperature. School attendanceis vitally important to childrens’ learning and health.
  • If a child has measles they should stay off nursery or school for at least 4 days from when the rash first appears, and avoid close contact with babies and anyone who is pregnant or has a weakened immune system.
  • To report measles cases or get support with outbreaks in your setting contact your local health protection team at swhpt@ukhsa.gov.uk or call 0300 303 8162 option 1 then option 1

What you can do to help

  • Encourage your staff to check their MMR vaccination status and book their vaccination with their GP if they unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated. MMR is given over two doses, and both doses are needed for full protection.
  • Attend UKHSA’s free webinar on Health Protection in Education and Early Years Settings about childhood infection in early years and educational settings. The session will cover measles as well as other infectious diseases. Book your space here Health Protection in Education and Early Years settings Webinar
  • Share ‘Appendix 1. Key information for parents’ below with parents and guardians via your communications channels, and keep sharing over the coming months. Print and display posters and display them in your workplace and share the resources.


  • If you have a suspected or confirmed case of measles follow UKHSA guidance on managing measles, which includes:
    • exclude the infected individual from the settings until 4 days after the onset of the rash (where the date of the rash onset is day 0)
    • encourage all children and young people over the age of one year old to have the combined MMR vaccination,
    • contactyour local Health Protection Team on swhpt@ukhsa.gov.uk or call 0300 303 8162 option 1 then option 1

Further information and resources:


Appendix 1. Key information for parents

Dear parent/guardian,

Measles is currently circulating in England, and we expect that we will soon start seeing measles outbreaks in Cornwall. Measles outbreaks happen when not enough children have been vaccinated.

Measles can be a very serious disease, leading to ear and chest infections, fits, diarrhoea, and damage to the brain. Measles can kill.

Getting vaccinated

Your child is at risk of measles if he or she hasn’t had the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

Two doses of MMR vaccine are needed to get the best protection.

If your child is due to have had 2 doses of MMR but has not yet received them, no matter what age they are, you should contact your GP to get them vaccinated as soon as possible. MMR vaccination is free.

If you can’t remember if your child has had any, 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccine, check his or her personal child health record (the Red Book). If this doesn’t help, speak to your GP.

If you don’t know how many doses your child has had, it’s better to have 2 doses of MMR vaccine now rather than risk leaving them unprotected.

What to do is your child has symptoms

Symptoms of measles include fever, sore red eyes, and rash. Measles often starts as cold like symptoms. If your child has cold like symptoms but no fever they can still attend school. School attendance is vitally important to childrens’ learning and health. If your child has been vaccinated, it’s very unlikely that they have measles.

If your child has measles they should stay off nursery or school for at least 4 days from when the rash first appears, and avoid close contact with babies and anyone who is pregnant or has a weakened immune system. If you are worried about your child contact your GP or 111.

For further information see

Best wishes,

Cornwall Council Public Health Protection team

Cornwall Council / Konsel Kernow | Wellbeing & Public Health /Sewena ha Yeghes Poblek

Phnotifications@cornwall.gov.uk | Tel: 01872 22222