Measles outbreak in France

Behind the Headlines

Friday July 9 2010

It is never too late to get the MMR vaccine for your child

French authorities have reported an increased number of measles cases in France this year.

Parents who are planning a holiday in France and have not had their children vaccinated against measles should ensure their children have the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

It is never too late to get the MMR vaccine for your child as it provides the best possible protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

Your GP can provide advice on vaccination or you can visit the vaccination pages on NHS Choices for more information.


At what age can you have MMR?

The MMR vaccination can be given from around one year of age.


Is it necessary to have both doses to be protected?

Studies show that a single dose of a vaccine containing measles, such as MMR, protects against the disease in about 90% of people.  Two doses are recommended for the best protection.


Can adults have MMR if they didn't have it when they were younger?

Yes. Travellers to areas where measles is common should ensure that they are fully immunised.


I'm going on holiday soon and there isn’t time to give my child the MMR vaccine. What should I do?

If there isn't time to get the MMR vaccination before you go away, book an appointment with your GP for your child to have it as soon as you get back.

While you are away, initial symptoms of measles to look out for are:

  • a rash for at least three days, and
  • fever for at least one day, and
  • at least one of the following: a cough, a head cold or red sore eyes


What should I do if I'm abroad and I think my child has measles?

Seek medical advice immediately. Make sure you have an up-to-date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance (you should have this as well), but it does allow you to have emergency medical treatment on the same terms as French nationals.


More information about measles

NHS Choices information about measles

NHS Choices information about MMR

Travel advice on getting treatment abroad is on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website

Edited by NHS Choices


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