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Measles Epidemic Continues to Spread in Wales

Update Date: Apr 06, 2013 03:08 PM EDT

The measles epidemic continues to rise in Swansea to 588 confirmed cases, according to health officials in Wales.

The most recent figures show that 40 new cases have developed since Wednesday, with up to 20 new cases reported daily. During the Easter week, 109 new cases were diagnosed. An estimated 3,800 children in Swansea have not been vaccinated and health officials are urging parents to do act immediately.

While fears of the epidemic continue to grow, special vaccination clinics have been established to avoid the spread of the virus to neighboring areas. Unvaccinated children between the ages of six and 12 months living or traveling to areas of Swansea and North Talbot can be offered vaccination by their general practitioner, according to Dr. Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales.

"The alarming numbers of cases of measles and continuing spread of the disease in Wales illustrates how vital it is for parents to get their children vaccinated," said Lyons.

Lyons urges that there are no adverse effects from the vaccination and infants who receive the vaccination would still need to go for two additional vaccines at 13 months and three years four months.

Nearly 600 people in the area have received an unscheduled MMR vaccine in the past seven days, according to Daily Mail.

"We are really pleased to see that 586 people have proactively got the MMR vaccine over the past week, on top of those already scheduled to have it," she added.

Lyons said this is a good start but there are still thousands of children are still at risk from becoming infected with the potentially fatal measles virus if they do not go for their second MMR vaccination.

The risk to unvaccinated children in Wales is increasing as the disease spreads because it only takes one or two unvaccinated adults to pose a threat to vulnerable children.

"The current pattern of cases and spread of illness indicates that this outbreak is likely to continue into the summer months and the risks to unvaccinated individuals will increase as more people become infected."

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