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Music fans warned to get vaccinated over festival measles risk

They are being urged to ensure they have had the MMR jab ahead of The Biggest Weekend in the Midlands.

Music festival-goers are being warned to make sure they have had their measles jab amid concerns from a government health body about possible outbreaks of the highly infectious disease.

Public Health England (PHE) said young people in “close-mixing environments such as festivals are more at risk” of contracting the potentially fatal condition, and it would be issuing alerts nationally through the summer.

“Festivals therefore pose an ideal opportunity for the infection to spread quickly,” it added.

Issuing a specific warning, PHE’s West Midlands branch urged people planning to travel to the BBC’s The Biggest Weekend two-day bash, at Coventry, to check they have had the MMR jab.

The region has been gripped by a higher-than-normal number of cases, leading to the alert being issued.

The bank holiday weekend event is featuring headliner Liam Gallagher, as well as Stereophonics, Paloma Faith, ska legends The Selecter, and others.

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The Rolling Stones in concert – London Stadium

Tickets for the festival’s main Sunday line-up, held in the city’s War Memorial Park, have been sold out for weeks.

In a tweet, the PHE West Midlands branch said: “Measles is spreading around the West Midlands and festivals are a hot-spot for them to spread.

“If you are going to the BBC Biggest Weekend and Biggest Weekend Fringe in Coventry, make sure you have had your MMR vaccines.”

In the first three months of 2018, the region had 71 recorded cases – more than three times the number as the same period last year, according to PHE.

There were 25 cases in the start of 2017.

PHE said measles is “a highly infectious viral illness” that can be very unpleasant and lead to serious complications, and in some cases death.

A spokesman for the government health body said: “Anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine is at risk, but young people in environments with close mixing such as festivals are more at risk.

“Our advice to those planning to attend festivals this summer is to make sure you’re up to date with all your vaccinations, especially the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

“Anyone who is not sure if they are fully vaccinated should check with their GP practice who can advise them.”

Presentation in sufferers can include cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature, or a red-brown blotchy rash.

People should seek immediate medical attention if they suspect infection, and contact their GP so disease controls and infection prevention can be organised.

A PHE spokeswoman added: “Do not attend a festival if you are experiencing symptoms.”

As the summer music festival season ramps up, the organisation said: “We will be issuing alerts to festival-goers across the country.”

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