Increase in measle cases at UK festivals ahead of Norwich’s Sundown festival


Sundown Festival 2015. PHOTOS BY LEE BLANCHFLOWER - Credit: Archant

Festival revellers are being warned to 'be alert to the symptoms of the disease' after a measles epidemic has swept across UK festivals this summer.

Public Health England have reported 234 cases of the infectious disease from January to July this year, yet the same period in 2015 had only 54 cases.

With the festival season in full swing, attendees of the annual Sundown Festival at the Norfolk Showground in September are being warned to protect themselves.

Amelia Cummins, consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health England's East of England office, said: 'While measles is not common these days, it can still be a very severe viral condition in teenagers and adults.

'People who missed their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab when they were younger are vulnerable to getting the infection, especially if they visit large scale events or festivals where it might easily spread from person-to-person.'

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Teenagers are being advised to check with their GP that they are fully vaccinated with the two doses of the MMR vaccine needed for protection.

This single injection prevents against all three infections.

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Ms Cummins further advises to be alert to the warning signs of the virus, which 'include fever and cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose and sneezing, and a characteristic blotchy rash, which usually starts on the head or neck before spreading.'

Sundown festival, headlined by Chase and Status and Jason Derulo, started in 2011 and welcomes over 40,000 people each year.

A spokesperson for the festival said: 'We're not aware of any problem specific to Norfolk in general or Sundown Festival in particular, but we advise festival goers to follow Public Health England's sensible advice.'

Public Health England deems music festivals as the ideal place for the infection to spread, due to the close proximity of festival-goers in large crowds.

The highest incidence of cases was at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, where 16 cases of the contagious virus were reported.

In the region, Secret Garden Party in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire had one case this year.

Music lovers are being urged to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of measles and not to attend if they are unwell.

•You should call your GP or NHS on 111 if you are experiencing any symptoms and visit the NHS website for information on the spread, treatment and prevention of measles.

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