King’s College Hospital and Princess Royal University Hospital report spike in cases
Two major NHS hospitals have reported an increase in the number of people presenting with the highly contagious, and potentially life-threatening, measles virus.
King’s College Hospital (KCH) in Camberwell and the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) in Farnborough, both part of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, have seen an increase in patients with the virus, with six confirmed cases at the PRUH, two at KCH and further cases suspected.
Measles, characterised by a rash, is a highly contagious virus that can be contracted by direct contact with an infected person or by them coughing and sneezing and infecting the air. Other symptoms include a runny nose, red eyes, a cough, inflamed tonsils, small white spots inside the cheeks, an increasing high temperature.
Roxanne Mohammad-Klein, Deputy Director of Infection Control at King’s said, “We have recently seen an increase in measles at the hospital. Although most cases can be successfully treated some patients experience life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and brain swelling.
“The tell-tale sign of measles is a rash that starts behind the ears and spreads over the face and body. The rash consists of flat red or brown blotches which can flow into each other and it feels bumpy when you run your fingers over it.
“When a patient comes to us with suspected measles we follow established protocols which include isolating the patient and testing them at the earliest opportunity.
“If you suspect that you or a member of your family has measles you should phone (not visit) your GP without delay. Because the virus is highly contagious, please avoid going to hospital where there are other patients – such as those with low immune systems and pregnant women – who could suffer complications if they came into contact with an infected person.”
Measles can be caught at any age but is most commonly found in children aged 1-4 who have not been immunised. There has also been an increase in people presenting with scarlet fever.