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NHS Western Isles is issuing ‘warn and inform’ notices to a range of individuals in the Western Isles, who may have come in contact with an individual likely to have measles.

All those included in the ‘warn and inform’ notice, mainly those who attended the Sports Centre in Stornoway on Saturday 10 February between 9am and 6pm, are being urged to ensure they have had two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)vaccine.

Having two doses of the MMR vaccine gives you the best chance to be fully protected from measles.  

If you are not sure if you had the vaccine, you should contact your GP for your vaccination status. To make an appointment for a vaccine, call 01851 708028 (open 9am – 5pm with an answering machine available outwith these hours), or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and leave your name and contact details.

Cases of measles are on the rise in Europe and parts of the UK, including Scotland. There remains a risk of infection for those who have not been fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. Measles is one of the most infectious diseases, it is spread by tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

In most cases, measles will pass in around seven to 10 days without causing further problems. However, in some cases measles can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as lung infections (pneumonia) and brain infections (encephalitis).  

Anyone can get measles if they haven’t been vaccinated or haven’t had it before. It is more common amongst children, but this doesn’t mean adults aren’t at risk too.  

NHS Scotland offers two doses of the MMR vaccine to children at roughly 12 months then three years and four months of age. If you or your child missed the vaccine at these ages, they can be given at any age.  

Dr Keith Allan, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Western Isles, said: “Measles spreads very easily. It’s unpleasant and can sometimes have serious life-threatening complications.  

“Having the safe and effective MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent measles. MMR is usually given in two doses in childhood but can be given at any age if you haven't been fully vaccinated before. 

“It's really important to have both doses if you can so that you get the best protection for yourself or child.” 

He added: “We are issuing warn and inform notices at present to individuals who may have come into contact with an individual likely to have measles. These people in particular are strongly encouraged to make sure they are fully vaccinated.”

Symptoms of measles 

Measles can spread quickly and very easily between people. The first symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you’re infected. These can include: 

  • cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough 
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light 
  • watery eyes 
  • swollen eyes 
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40°C (104°F) 
  • small greyish-white spots in the mouth 
  • aches and pains 
  • loss of appetite 
  • tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy 

The measles rash appears around 2 to 4 days after the initial symptoms and normally fades after about a week. The rash usually has the following characteristics:

  • is made up of small red-brown, flat or slightly raised spots that may join together into larger blotchy patches 
  • usually first appears on the head or neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body 
  • is slightly itchy for some people 

Anyone concerned about symptoms should contact their GP (in working hours) or NHS24 out of hours (111). If you are symptomatic, please do not attend your GP or local hospital without prior notification, as you may risk spreading the disease to others. Making prior contact ensures arrangements can be made for you to attend if necessary at a safe time to avoid further spread.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or had the measles before, and you do catch measles, it’s important to know how to prevent spreading it to others: 

  • stay off school or work for at least four days from when the rash first appears 
  • regularly wash your hands with soap and water 
  • use and dispose of tissues when you sneeze 
  • avoid close contact with anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated 

If you would like to arrange an appointment for the MMR vaccine in the Western Isles you can phone 01851 708028 (open 9am – 5pm and an answering machine is available outwith these hours), or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and leave your name and contact details.