Over 2,000 given MMR jabs at clinics

13 April 2013 Last updated at 03:28 ET

Child being immunised

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Health officials want to prevent a spread of the epidemic

More hospitals are offering free MMR vaccinations across south Wales in a bid to tackle a measles epidemic.

The number of cases has risen to 693, with health officials warning that too few children aged 10 to 17 are coming forward for MMR jabs.

The epidemic, which is centred on Swansea, is not expected to peak for another four weeks.

Drop-in clinics will be held later for the first time in Cardiff and Newport as a precaution.

It follows a decision by the Cardiff and Vale and Aneurin Bevan health boards to follow the example of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg which held sessions last weekend.

More than 1,700 were vaccinated at drop-in clinics in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend with another 900 vaccinated in the Swansea area last week.

But health officials believe thousands of children in the Swansea area have still not had the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine.

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Measles Q&A

  • How safe is it to take children to mainland Europe who have had two doses of the MMR vaccine?

It gives 99% protection against the measles virus.

  • What if they have had only one dose of MMR?

One dose is better than none, but two doses is better than one. If you are concerned about travelling to an outbreak area you can bring forward the second MMR dose. Speak to your GP about it.

  • What if my children are not vaccinated at all?

The advice is to go to your GP and arrange for them to be immunised as soon as possible before you travel. Measles is a dangerous viral illness that can be fatal.

BBC Health – Measles

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health board will hold more sessions from 10:00-16:00 BST on Saturday at Swansea’s Morriston and Singleton hospitals along with Neath Port Talbot Hospital and the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Some GP surgeries are also laying on special vaccination sessions during the week, while children will be given the jab at schools in the area when they return next week after the Easter break.

Other health boards have also announced clinics for Saturday as a precaution.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is holding sessions at Cardiff Royal Infirmary and at University Hospital Llandough, also from 10:00-16:00 BST.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board is running sessions from 11:00-15:00 BST at Bellevue Surgery in Newport and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach.

No appointments are needed for any of the clinics which are for children and teenagers who have not had two MMR jabs.

Dr Tom Porter, consultant in public health medicine for Cardiff and Vale, said the sessions were precautionary as there has not been an outbreak in the area.

Vaccination increase

He added: “We estimate around 13,000 children under 19 have not had two MMRs and are not adequately protected and would urge parents to take up this opportunity or to contact their GP to make an appointment locally.

“We are starting to see an increase in the number of people who have had the two jabs for MMR in Cardiff and the Vale, which is encouraging, but the number still falls far short of what is needed to stop the spread of what can be a very serious and potentially fatal disease, so it is important everyone is protected.”

Location map

Cwm Taf Health Board in the south Wales valleys is not holding drop-in sessions but is advising people to contact their GP for a vaccination.

Public Health Wales (PHW) has warned that despite previous immunisations the outbreak, which began in November, has not been brought under control.

Although the epidemic is based in Swansea, cases continue to be reported across Wales. Officials have raised concerns about the number of cases in Powys.

Measles is caused by a virus spread in droplets and is easy to catch by those who have not been vaccinated.

Typical symptoms of measles include fever, cough, conjunctivitis and a rash. Complications are quite common even in healthy people, and about 20% of reported measles cases experience one or more complication.

The death rate is around one in every 1,000 infected in developed countries.


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First case of new bird flu strain found outside eastern China

BEIJING | Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:07pm EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese capital Beijing reported on Saturday its first suspected case of a new strain of bird flu, state news agency Xinhua said, which would be the first time it has been found in a human outside of eastern China.

The seven-year-old child is in a stable condition in a Beijing hospital and samples have been sent to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for further tests, the report said.

Two people who have had close contact with the child have shown no signs of being infected so far, Xinhua added.

A total of 11 people have died of the H7N9 bird flu strain since it was confirmed in humans for the first time last month, with 43 infections in all having been reported to date.

Shanghai and the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui have been the only confirmed locations of infection.

The source of infection remains unknown, though samples have tested positive in some birds in poultry markets that remain the focus of investigations by China and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

The new virus has caused severe illness in most of the people affected, leading to fears that if it becomes easily transmissible, it could cause a deadly influenza pandemic, though there has been no indication of that happening.

In a bid to calm public jitters over the virus, Chinese authorities have detained a dozen people for spreading rumors about the spread of bird flu.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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Turkish womb transplant patient is pregnant

ISTANBUL | Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:24am EDT

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The first woman to have a successful womb transplant from a dead donor is pregnant, a hospital in southern Turkey said.

Derya Sert, 22, who was born without a womb, had been receiving in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment after the transplant in August 2011.

“Early test results are consistent with pregnancy. The patient is in good health at the moment. We will continue to update on developments in the coming period,” Akdeniz University Hospital in Turkey’s Mediterranean city of Antalya said in a statement late on Friday.

One in every 5,000 women globally is born without a womb, while thousands more have the organ removed due to cancer or other diseases, leaving them unable to get pregnant.

In September, doctors in Sweden performed the world’s first mother-to-daughter womb transplants on two Swedish women, both in their 30s.


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More Than a Quarter of Melanoma Survivors Skip Sunscreen, Study Finds

MONDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) — Even people who have survived melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, often fail to protect themselves from the sun, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that of 171 melanoma survivors in a U.S. survey, more than 25 percent said they never used sunscreen when spending more than an hour outside on a sunny day. What’s more, 2 percent said they had used tanning beds in the past year.

“They did do a better job of protecting themselves than the average person,” said lead researcher Dr. Anees Chagpar, an associate professor of surgery at Yale University’s School of Medicine. “But there is room for improvement,” she added.

“Maybe we need to be more vigilant about education,” said Chagpar, who was to present the findings Monday at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, in Washington, D.C.

The results are based on a 2010 government health survey that included 27,120 U.S. adults, 171 of whom reported a history of melanoma.

Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, accounting for less than 5 percent of skin cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Still, most deaths from skin cancer are due to melanoma — which often spreads to other parts of the body if it’s not caught early.

Because too much ultraviolet (UV) light is a major melanoma risk factor, experts advise everyone to limit their exposure. That means staying in the shade, donning sunscreen and covering up when you’re in the sun, and avoiding the tanning salon altogether.

You would expect that if anyone would follow that advice, it would be melanoma survivors, Chagpar said.

And some did, her team found. On days when they were going to be in the sun for more than an hour, one-third of melanoma survivors “always” wore sunscreen, versus 17 percent of other Americans. They were also more likely to always wear a cap (31 percent did) or a long-sleeved shirt (12 percent).

On the other hand, 27 percent of melanoma survivors said they never slathered on sunscreen before spending more than an hour in the sun.

“We were very surprised by that,” Chagpar said. What “blew her mind,” though, was the fact that 2 percent of melanoma survivors visited tanning beds.

She noted that other researchers are studying the possibility that tanning is addictive for some people. It’s possible, Chagpar speculated, that even some melanoma survivors may be hooked on the experience.

A dermatologist not involved in the study agreed that some of the findings are troubling. “It is certainly concerning that a quarter of the melanoma survivors never wear sunscreen,” said Dr. Hensin Tsao, a melanoma expert at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

On the other hand, Tsao said he was “encouraged” by the fact that melanoma survivors were more serious about sun protection than the average person. That suggests that the message is getting through to many, he noted.

What’s not clear, according to Tsao, is whether people recently treated for melanoma were any more likely to protect themselves when compared to survivors who beat the disease years ago. It is possible that the farther you are away from the experience, the less vigilant you’ll be about UV protection.

“My sense is that if the study stratified by time from diagnosis, there would naturally be an erosion of the sun-protective behaviors,” Tsao said.

But, Chagpar said, survivors need to remember that their increased risk of developing another melanoma “never goes away.”

“There is no question that exposure to UV radiation increases your risk of melanoma,” she said. “For survivors, it’s particularly important to protect yourself.”

According to the American Cancer Society, about 76,700 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States this year. An estimated 9,500 Americans will die of the disease.

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Learn more about melanoma from the American Cancer Society.


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Child’s Cancer Often Causes Parents Severe Distress: Study

TUESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) — Many parents of children with advanced cancer have high to severe levels of psychological distress, a new study finds.

The study included 81 parents of children treated for advanced cancer at Boston Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Seattle Children’s Hospital between December 2004 and June 2009.

Assessments revealed that more than half of the parents had high levels of psychological distress and 16 percent had severe levels.

Parents’ levels of psychological distress were associated with their child’s symptoms and suffering, financial problems, goals of cancer care and understanding of their child’s prognosis.

Psychological distress was much lower among parents whose understanding of their child’s prognosis matched the specific goals of cancer care, according to the study, which was published online April 1 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Efforts to make this match and to ease child suffering and financial problems could help reduce parents’ psychological distress, concluded Dr. Abby Rosenberg, of Seattle Children’s Hospital, and colleagues in a journal news release.

More information

The American Cancer Society offers advice for dealing with cancer in children.


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Child's Cancer Often Causes Parents Severe Distress: Study

TUESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) — Many parents of children with advanced cancer have high to severe levels of psychological distress, a new study finds.

The study included 81 parents of children treated for advanced cancer at Boston Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Seattle Children’s Hospital between December 2004 and June 2009.

Assessments revealed that more than half of the parents had high levels of psychological distress and 16 percent had severe levels.

Parents’ levels of psychological distress were associated with their child’s symptoms and suffering, financial problems, goals of cancer care and understanding of their child’s prognosis.

Psychological distress was much lower among parents whose understanding of their child’s prognosis matched the specific goals of cancer care, according to the study, which was published online April 1 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Efforts to make this match and to ease child suffering and financial problems could help reduce parents’ psychological distress, concluded Dr. Abby Rosenberg, of Seattle Children’s Hospital, and colleagues in a journal news release.

More information

The American Cancer Society offers advice for dealing with cancer in children.

Visit the Source Site