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The mum of a baby who had measles so severely that

Measles: 'My baby's eyes were swollen shut'

Jilly Moss's daughter Alba spent eight days seriously ill in hospital.

She was not old enough to have had the first dose of the MMR vaccine.

More than half a million children in the UK missed out on the vaccine between 2010 and 2017, the children's charity Unicef says.

Globally, 169 million children did not receive the first dose of the measles vaccine over the same seven-year period.

There have been more than 110,000 measles cases worldwide in the first three months of 2019 - a rise of 300 por ciento compared to last year, World Health Organization figures show.

It comes as NHS chief Simon Stevens warned that people rejecting vaccines was a "growing public health time bomb".

'Absolutely terrifying'
Alba, who is now one and over the worst, was unwell for a couple of weeks with a high temperature and rash, before it spread and covered her entire body.

At one point, after deteriorating in hospital in south London, Jilly did not think her daughter would survive.

"It was absolutely terrifying to watch her go through that and be so helpless.

"She didn't know what was going on and it was heartbreaking to see," she says.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs, eyes and brain. In one in 25,000 cases, brain complications can be fatal.

Babies and children with weakened immune systems are most at risk of complications - more common ones include diarrhoea and vomiting, lung infections and fits caused by a fever.

Millions of lives worldwide have been saved by the measles vaccinations given to young children - but too many are still dying, Unicef says.

Health experts say children should have two doses of the vaccine to fully protect against the disease.

In many countries, including the UK, the MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella (or German measles).

  • the first dose is given to babies around their first birthday
  • the second dose before starting school, when three to four years old

Global problem
But, according to Unicef, a mixture of complacency, misinformation, scepticism about immunisations, and a lack of access to jabs has led to inadequate vaccination rates globally.

It estimates that between 2010 and 2017:

  • The US topped the list for the number of unvaccinated children in high-income countries, with 2,593,000 missing the first dose of the vaccine
  • The comparable figure for France was 600,000
  • The UK came third, with 527,000 children not getting their first dose of the vaccine over the seven-year period
  • In Nigeria, four million children under one did not get the first dose of the vaccine

The figures are based on Unicef and World Health Organization estimates of the number of children immunised against diseases in 194 countries in 2017.

Figures for the second dose of the measles vaccine "were even more alarming", Unicef said.

It found 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had not introduced a second dose, putting more than 17 million infants a year at a greater risk of getting measles as a child.

In 2017, 85 por ciento of children worldwide were vaccinated with the first dose but only 67 por ciento with the second dose of the measles vaccine, Unicef says.

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