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British Music Festivals Are a Breeding Ground for Measles

Public Health England is recommending you get a double MMR vaccine before you go to Reading.

(Photo: Jake Lewis)

It goes without saying that music festivals are dirty – anywhere catering to upwards of 100,000 sweaty people who haven't showered in four days could never be considered a sanitary environment. But according to new data, a severe comedown isn't the only thing your immune system has to cope with after a big weekend in a field. Festivals across the UK have also reportedly become a "hotbed" for measles.


Public Health England (PHE) has warned a "significant number" of cases have been linked to events this summer, with 36 incidents of measles reported in June and July alone. To put this into context, there were only 54 cases of the disease recorded in the first half of 2015, versus 234 in the first six months of 2016. The cases so far have been linked to Glastonbury, NASS, Triplicity Music and Arts Festival, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, Noisily, Secret Garden Party and well known cesspit of infection, the Yeovil Show.

PHE say festivals are an "ideal place" for the highly infectious virus to spread because of the sheer number of people mixing together. In a statement posted to its website, Dr Mary Ramsay has urged festival-goers to consider the seriousness of the disease: "Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. So if you think you might have measles, please don't go to any of these big events."

In light of the outbreak, PHE are also advising revellers to ensure they have up-to-date vaccinations against the virus, and getting a double MMR vaccine if they don't.

So if the person you're hooking up with at Bestival/Boomtown/Reading this summer is exhibiting cold-like symptoms, complaining of sore eyes, has a temperature and small greyish-white spots on the inside of their cheeks, make the decision to sleep in your tent alone that night.

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