Nurses are being urged to help ensure teenagers are vaccinated against measles this summer to protect them from an expected increase in the viral illness at music festivals in the UK and when they travel abroad.
Public Health England is encouraging healthcare professionals to use posters and leaflets that it is making available to raise awareness about the illness and the importance of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination.
”Practice nurses and school nurses can play a vital role to ensure teenagers and young people are protected with two doses of the MMR vaccine”
It comes after a small outbreak of measles in Wales, and several large outbreaks across Europe, with Romania and Italy being the worst affected countries, according to PHE.
Last year, PHE reported 52 confirmed measles cases between mid-June and mid-October that were known to be linked to music and arts festivals in England and Wales.
Nearly half of these cases were in young people aged between 15 and 19. Several of those who caught measles at one festival later attended another festival while infectious, resulting in multiple inter-linked outbreaks, said PHE.
Measles can be more severe in teenagers and adults and some may need hospital treatment. It is extremely infectious and summer events like music festivals and fairs where people mix closely with each other provide the ideal place for the infection to spread, noted PHE.
“Practice nurses and school nurses can play a vital role to ensure teenagers and young people are protected with two doses of the MMR vaccine,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE.
“Schools are an ideal setting for raising awareness about the MMR vaccine and an MMR check should be considered in all routine contact points, such as delivery of the adolescent vaccination programmes,” she said