Cases of measles in Wales have continued to rise, with young people being urged to take advantage of the final week of school MMR vaccination sessions.
Public Health Wales (PHW) is reminding children and parents that there is a particular urgency for those aged 10 to 18 to catch up on missed MMR doses.
This is the age group hardest hit by the outbreak, which has now risen to 1,125 cases – an increase of 20 cases in the last five days.
Throughout Wales there have now been 1,325 cases of measles since the start of November 2012 – compared with only 19 cases in the whole of Wales in 2011.
Dr Marion Lyons, PHW director of health protection said: “This is the final week that children in schools across Wales will be offered the MMR vaccination, so parents whose children have not yet been fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR are reminded to complete the consent form to ensure the vaccine can be given.
“Children over the age of 16 can consent to the vaccination without needing their parents to sign the form.”
More than 3,500 doses of MMR vaccine have been provided in GP surgeries over the last seven days.
Efforts to offer MMR vaccination throughout Wales in response to the measles outbreak have resulted in more than 50,000 people being vaccinated in the last two months.
But fewer than a third of these were given to people aged between 10 and 18 – the age group hardest hit by the outbreak.
PHW said future outbreaks are possible if this group remains unvaccinated.
She said: “We continue to remind young people and their parents that measles can be very serious and even fatal. It is just a matter of time before a child is left with serious and permanent complications such as eye disorders, deafness or brain damage, or dies.
Unvaccinated children aged between six and 12 months living in or travelling to the outbreak areas of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot or North Powys can be offered vaccination by their GP.