A MEASLES outbreak has hit Gwent for the second time in a matter of months.

Six cases of the infection have been confirmed in Newport, Blaenau Gwent and Cardiff, and two other “probable” cases are under investigation.

Investigations have revealed all six patients were in the same location in the centre of Cardiff on the same day in early February.

Public Health Wales has urged parents to make sure their children have had two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to make sure they are fully protected. Young adults and teenagers have also been reminded to have the vaccine if they have not already.

A previous outbreak affected Newport and Torfaen from May to October, and saw 17 people confirmed as having the disease.

A total of 1,238 children were vaccinated in schools sessions organised throughout the two counties during the period.

Children with early symptoms, which can include a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, or conjunctivitis, should be kept home from school. The distinctive red rash develops two to seven days after these first symptoms.

Parents should also contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 and alert them of the symptoms before attending any appointment.

Consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales Dr Gwen Lowe said: “Measles is highly infectious and the only way to prevent large outbreaks is through vaccination.

“As this outbreak has shown, even being in the same proximity as a stranger in the first stages of measles can result in infection.

“We urge parents whose children have not received two doses of MMR to ensure that they speak to their GP immediately to arrange this quick, safe and effective vaccine.

“Adults who have never had measles or the MMR vaccine, and who work in close contact with children, are also urged to ensure they speak to their GP about vaccination.”

The first dose of the MMR vaccine is usually given to babies at 12 months old, and the second at three years and four months. But it can be given at any time.

About one in five children with measles can experience serious complications such as ear infections, pneumonia or meningitis. One in 10 people with measles end up in hospital and in rare cases it can be fatal.