DUDLEY'S health chief has warned winter infections are on the rise and the borough needs to be ready for cases of measles.

Speaking at a meeting of Dudley Council’s Health Select Committee on Monday January 8, interim director of public health and well being, Mayada Abu Affan delivered a stark update on winter infections.

As health services struggle to cope with seasonal pressures the director had very little comfort for councillors.

She told the meeting: “There are cases of measles across the West Midlands, there are none in Dudley but it is only a matter of time before we get cases.”

The meeting was told there were 133 reported cases of the killer disease in the region with infections reported in both Birmingham and Sandwell.

Dr Abu Affan added: “The majority of cases are in unvaccinated people but we are seeing some cases in vaccinated as well.

“Flu is increasing and Covid is increasing but they are mild due to vaccination. hospital admissions have increased.”

In July 2023 the UK Health Security Agency issued a warning on the risk from measles to unvaccinated children.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) health protection consultant Dr William Proto said: “Measles is a very infectious virus and can spread rapidly among communities, such as schools, if people have not had at least one dose of the MMR vaccine.

“While most people will recover completely within a couple of weeks, the virus can cause very serious illness.

“It can sometimes leave permanent disability and it can even be fatal. People in certain at-risk groups, including babies and small children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity are at increased risk of complications if they catch measles.”

According to the agency, flu vaccine uptake among pre-school children one of the lowest despite the illness being potentially serious for young people.

As children return to school after Christmas, parents are being urged to be on the lookout for symptoms and encourage good hygiene habits in their children to stop the spread of disease.