Measles is an infection that spreads very easily and can cause serious problems in some people. Having the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent it.  

Measles is very infectious, it can cause serious complications, lead to hospitalisation – and in rare cases tragically can cause death. There have been recent, localised outbreaks, including (at the time of writing, Jan 2024) an ongoing outbreak centred around the West Midlands region of England.

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth.

The first symptoms of measles include:

  • a high temperature
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • a cough
  • red, sore, watery eyes

Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

  • you think you may have measles
  • you've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you've not had measles before or you've not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine
  • you've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you're pregnant – measles can be serious in pregnancy
  • you have a weakened immune system and think you have measles or have been in close contact with someone with measles

Measles can spread to others easily. If you suspect you have measles you should stay away from others for at least 4 days after the rash has appeared.  

Call your GP surgery before you go in. They may suggest talking over the phone.
You can also call 111 or get help from 111 online.

Get vaccinated against measles
Vaccines are our best line of defence against diseases like measles and help stop outbreaks occurring in the community. 2 doses of the MMR vaccine can give lifelong protection against measles, mumps, and rubella

We advise all students to make sure they are up to date with their 2 MMR doses. To see if you are up to date with your MMR vaccines, contact your GP practice.

It is never too late to catch up. The MMR vaccine is free on the NHS, whatever your age. If anyone has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, contact your GP practice to book an appointment.

There is also no risk to your health if you get an extra dose. Speak with your GP or NHS 111 for more information.