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RAF LAKENHEATH, England — In the wake of an outbreak of measles in Wales, the 48th Medical Group at RAF Lakenheath is contacting military personnel and their dependents at three bases in England who have not been vaccinated against the virus.

At RAFs Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Feltwell, roughly 200 people — primarily young children — are believed to have not received vaccine, said Col. Pete Kovats, chief of aerospace medicine. Others may also be notified.

No one covered by the medical group has been diagnosed with measles, Kovats said.

The medical group covers the 100th Air Refueling, 48th Fighter Wing, 352nd Special Operations Group and 501st Combat Support Wing.

Lt. Col. Stephen Boden, an immunologist with the medical group, said measles poses a higher risk for young children, the elderly, anyone suffering from a respiratory ailment and those with a compromised immune system. Symptoms can include fever, cough and a rash that spreads across the body. The virus is spread through fluids from coughing and sneezing.

Children normally receive a measles vaccine when they reach their first year and a booster between ages 4 and 6, Boden said. The vaccine is often given in the States as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Boden described the vaccine as effective and “very safe.” Only those who have a compromised immune system should not receive it, he said.

Officials at Lakenheath, Mildenhall and the 501st also issued a travel warning for Wales.

The National Health Service of Wales has reported more than 980 measles cases since November. One 25-year-old man with measles has died, but the health service has not released the cause of death.

Those who choose not to vaccinate their children are putting them at risk, Boden said. “We just wanted to let them know that if they’re traveling, they’re increasing their risk.”

mathis.adam@stripes.com


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