Measles (sometimes called Rubeola) is making a comeback. Before the vaccine was made widely available in the 1960s almost everyone contracted measles at some point in their life (usually when they were children) but the introduction of the vaccine all but eradicated the virus in the developed world. However, unwarranted fears of the MMR (joint measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine’s connection to autism, in a highly controversial and now disproved 1998 scientific study, caused people to shy away from vaccinating their children. This has in turn led to an increased number of measles cases in the UK. In the first 6 months of 2012 there was almost twice the number of cases from the same period the year before (965 up from 497).
Measles is an incredibly contagious virus, easily spread through the air by coughs or sneezes. It causes a high fever, sore eyes and an itchy rash along with other symptoms. Though most people recover within a week some are left with more serious long term conditions and one in a thousand cases end in death. Those who live in halls, work in health care or plan to travel soon, should definitely check out the symptoms and consider getting vaccinated (if they aren’t already) as they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.