AN OUTBREAK of measles has begun in Wales, and young people are being urged to make sure they have been vaccinated.

Public Health Wales is urging young adults and teenagers to make sure they are protected against measles with two doses of the MMR vaccine as it investigates an outbreak of measles in South East Wales.

Six people have been confirmed as having measles in Cardiff, Newport and Blaenau Gwent.

Although cases are distributed across South East Wales, the first few cases are thought to have been exposed to an unknown highly infectious case in early February.

Investigations have revealed that all were in the same location in Cardiff city centre on the same day.

Public Health Wales is working in partnership with Health Boards and Local Authorities in South East Wales to contact those exposed to measles cases and arranging vaccination as appropriate.

Early measles symptoms can include a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes (conjunctivitis). The distinctive red rash develops two to seven days after these first symptoms.

Parents should also contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47, and alert them of the symptoms before attending appointments.

The first dose of MMR is usually given to babies at 12 months of age and the second at three years and four months of age, but it is never too late to catch up on missed doses.

The MMR vaccine is recommended by the World Health Organization, UK Department of Health and Public Health Wales as the most effective and safe way to protect children against measles.

About 1 in 5 children with measles can experience serious complications such as ear infections, pneumonia or meningitis. One in 10 children with measles ends up in hospital and in rare cases it can be fatal.

Further information is available at