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Written Statement - Measles Cases in Neath Port Talbot

Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

An urgent public health response has been put in place following notification of 9 cases of measles of which 2 have been laboratory confirmed associated with Cwmtawe School in Neath Port Talbot.  Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board and Public Health Wales have organised MMR vaccination sessions at the school for children and teachers aimed at reducing the risk of any further cases arising from these notifications. Initial feedback from these sessions, held on Tuesday 8 October, indicates that of the 141 children initially identified as susceptible to measles, 28 children have now been immunised and 67 had been immunised elsewhere. In addition, 27 teachers were also immunised. The remainder were either absent, going to their GPs for vaccination or declined to accept the immunisation.

I am most grateful to the staff of ABMU Health Board and Public Health Wales for putting in place a rapid response to this small number of cases and for working so hard over a short space of time to put in place these school based sessions. We must also recognise the invaluable support of the School and Education Authority which enabled this response.

We  continue to urge those parents who have still not consented to having their children immunised to come forward and seek vaccination. Older children and young people can consent to the vaccination themselves if they wish.  Quite apart from the obvious health effect to the individuals themselves, those without vaccination pose a greater threat to the health of others. More generally when avoidable outbreaks occur, services have to be diverted from other important duties which then have to wait so that a rapid response can be put in place.