News Health/Medical Measles Alert: Stay Away from Cheltenham Races
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Measles Alert: Stay Away from Cheltenham Races

Published by Isabel Shaw

Updated: 13 Mar 2024

BRITS are being urged to “stay away” from Cheltenham races this week if they are experiencing cold-like symptoms, amid fears of more measles outbreaks.

The Gathering at Prestbury Park

Hundreds of thousands of punters from across the country are expected to gather in very close quarters at Prestbury Park in Gloucester, making disease explosions more likely.

Measles Resurgence

Cases of the once-eliminated virus are on the rise, with at least 733 recorded in England since October. The West Midlands alone has seen 432 infections, mainly driven by cases in Birmingham, where infections are at their highest levels since the 1990s. In comparison, there were just 53 cases confirmed in England in all of 2022.

Health Consultant's Advice

Beth Bennett-Britton, a health consultant at Gloucestershire County Council, is calling on those who aren't feeling well to stay away from the racecourse to prevent the spread of the virus. "What we would say is if people are unwell, we recommend that they don't attend, they stay away so that they don't spread their bugs around," Beth said.

Importance of Vaccination

Beth also urged people in the local area to get their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) jab. "It stops the virus being able to spread," she said, but added that when people don't get the vaccine, "we have these pockets where the virus can spread much more easily." Around 90% of Gloucestershire's population has the MMR vaccine, but the World Health Organisation recommends 95% to achieve herd immunity.

Nearly a million 19 to 25-year-olds need a measles jab, the NHS warned this week. The plea follows a call for more than a million primary school kids and 200,000 teens aged 16 to 19 in high-risk areas to get up to date with the jabs.

Measles Symptoms

Measles symptoms can take several days to appear and include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a characteristic rash.

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