PARENTS and guardians of pupils at St Matthew's Academy have been warned after a case of measles was detected in someone associated with the school. 

In a letter obtained by the Herald, which was distributed today, (Friday, June 7) it highlights the symptoms of the highly infectious disease and gives advice to those who have only had one MMR jab.

The letter states: "Dear Parent/Guardian, 

"A case of measles has occured in a person associated with St Matthew's Academy. The purpose of this letter is to explain the signs and symptoms of measles, and remind parents of the importance of ensuring their child/children are fully vaccinated."

The NHS state online that: "The World Health Organization confirmed that the UK eliminated measles in 2016.

"This is because the MMR vaccine is highly effective and vaccine uptake has been very high in the UK for many years.

"But this doesn't mean that measles has disappeared. Measles is common in many countries around the world, and currently there are several large measles outbreaks across Europe.

"We'll continue to see imported measles cases in the UK, and anyone who hasn't had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine can catch it.

"In 2016 there were more than 500 measles cases in England, many in teenagers and young people attending summer festivals who'd missed out on their MMR vaccine in childhood."

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We are liaising closely with our colleagues at NHS Ayrshire & Arran on this issue.

“Fortunately, the uptake of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is high at St Matthew’s Academy which significantly reduces the likelihood of the infection spreading. As a precaution, parents and carers will be notified what to do in the event that their child shows symptoms.

“We would echo NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s message to parents and carers to ensure their child has received two MMR vaccines, as this is the only effective protection against measles.”

Hazel Henderson, Consultant in Public Health for NHS Ayrshire and Arran said: "Our Public Health department has been notified that a person from North Ayrshire has a confirmed measles infection.

"We have been in touch with the person’s close contacts and offered MMR vaccination where appropriate. The person was at St Matthew’s Academy while infectious. As a precaution, we have written to parents and carers of children who attend this school with information about the symptoms of measles, and what to do if they develop symptoms.

"Uptake of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is high in St Matthew’s Academy, reducing the chance of measles spreading. MMR is part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule and is given at age 13 months, then again as a pre-school booster. Most children who attend this school will have had two doses of MMR vaccine as part of their routine childhood immunisations and will therefore be protected against measles. If your child has not had two MMRs, we would encourage you to ensure your child has both, as this is the only effective protection against measles.

"Measles is a highly infectious viral illness and can have severe complications. Most people will recover from measles. However it can be extremely serious for very young babies, pregnant women and people who are immunosuppressed.

"Early symptoms of measles include cold-like symptoms, sore eyes and swollen eyelids, aches and pains, and fever. After a few days a rash appears, usually beginning behind the ears then spreading down the face and neck and across the body. Some people develop greyish spots resembling sugar or salt granules inside the mouth. If your child is not fully immunised and develops any of these early symptoms, please keep them away from school as a precaution. If your child attends St Matthews Academy and develops these symptoms in the next two weeks, please phone your GP and say that your child may have been in contact with a measles case. Do not turn up at the GP practice without phoning and giving this information first as measles is very infectious.

"Our Public Health team is planning to visit the school to offer MMR immunisation to any child who requires it, in order to prevent ongoing spread within the school. This is only for children attending the school and is part of the national immunisation catch-up campaign."

The full letter is pictured below.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: