Here’s a good reason for being vaccinated: getting the jab in order to attend music festivals, worry-free.
A recent rash of measles outbreaks are hitting Britain and officials are saying they are linked to concert-goers co-mingling at music festivals.
According to reports issued by Public Health England in the first six months of 2016, more than four times the number of reported cases of measles, up to 234, occurred when compared with 2015. There were only 54 reported cases in 2015.
And with 36 cases reported in June and July of this year alone, (and more expected to turn up as people get to the doctor to report their symptoms), the numbers simply keep piling up.
But are officials just party-poopers who don’t like a good time? Why are they putting the blame specifically on musical gatherings?
According to a report on bbc.com, Public Health England feels that concerts are a perfect target for measles because of the large numbers of people hanging out in the audience, in close proximity to one-another.
And there are also other, more obvious reasons. Add to that the fact that, apparently, at least three not-so-wise individuals developed measles symptoms and decided to go and cheer on their favorite band anyways at venues throughout England, possibly infecting thousands, and there you have it.
It might be hard to argue the public officials’ point.
So, what to do?
“Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. So, if you think you might have measles, please don’t go to any of these big events,” said Dr. Mary Ramsay in a public statement issued by Public Health England.
Worried that you might have it? The symptoms are straightforward. The virus causes a blotchy reddish rash to cover the skin, a fever, cold-like symptoms and an increased sensitivity to light in those who contract it.
And while not always serious, England is likely issuing such a strong warning as it can actually be fatal. The Mayo Clinic states that measles kills more than 100,000 people worldwide each year, mostly targeting young children under the age of 5.
Here are some additional facts:
A person with measles can spread the virus to other individuals for about four days before the rash occurs, and four days after the rash has spread over their skin, totaling about eight days of communicability.
Physically, it happens when someone coughs, sneezes or talks drops of infected fluid spray into the air, communicating the virus to others.
And infected liquid can remain contagious for up to several hours on a single surface, so watch out.
Complications caused by measles include ear infections, bronchitis, croup, pneumonia, encephalitis, pregnancy loss, and decreased blood clotting.
Experts advise that those waiting to see a doctor with a suspected case of measles take special care to ensure they keep hydrated, using pediatric electrolyte solutions or sports drinks such as Gatorade, and to take medication to bring down any high fever.
What’s the best defense? Get yourself vaccinated. And if you insist that’s not for you, I guess it could be good to skip the concert season in Britain this summer: long live downloadable tunes on YouTube.