THERE is no room for complacency in Gwent about measles, a public health expert has warned, despite almost 14,500 doses of MMR vaccine being given in the area during the recent six-week immunisation campaign.

And Dr Gill Richardson, director of public health with Aneurin Bevan Health Board, praised coverage by the Argus of that April-May campaign.

Weekend drop-in clinics and a programme of MMR vaccination in schools and colleges in Gwent were key aspects of a concerted effort to get as many people, particularly the young, protected against the disease in the wake of an outbreak in the Swansea area.

The UK's largest measles outbreak for a decade saw more than 1,200 cases notified between November 2012 and June this year, with more than 130 cases notified in Gwent during the fist six months of 2013, as incidence of the disease rose through much of South and Mid-Wales.

The outbreak was declared over earlier this month, and health boards have been evaluating their response to it.

Dr Richardson said the Argus had played "a very important part" in helping provide information to people across Gwent about the risks associated with measles, and about the opportunities for vaccination. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, also played a major role, she added.

In Gwent, 8,926 MMR vaccinations were given by GPs during the outbreak period, up to June 17, according to a health board report.

Another 2,940 vaccinations were given through weekend drop-in clinics at venues such as the Royal Gwent Hospital and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, with 2,094 given at schools and colleges. In addition, 472 health board staff were vaccinated.

The Gwent total, to June 17, was 14,432 vaccinations, second only among Wales' health board areas to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, the epicentre of the outbreak area, where almost 30,000 vaccinations were given.

Dr Richardson said that as far as MMR coverage in Gwent is concerned "we are in a much better place" than before the vaccination campaign, with first dose MMR rates above or approaching the target 95 per cent. But she warned there is much work still to be done.

While almost 95 per cent of four-18 year-olds have now received at least one dose of MMR, there remain large numbers, particularly of 10-18 year-olds, who have not received a second dose.