Measles epidemic claims first victim

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A MEASLES epidemic is believed to have claimed its first victim, with health experts warning the public to expect more.

The person, named locally as Gareth Williams, 25, of Port Tennant, Swansea, south Wales, reportedly died at home on Thursday morning. The coroner for Swansea, the centre of the epidemic, has ordered an examination of his body to establish whether measles, or something else, is the cause.

A spokesman for the corner’s office confirmed that it is investigating the “unexplained” death of a 25-year-old man. Public Health Wales (PHW) has also confirmed that it is aware that the city’s coroner is investigating a death.

But confirmation of the cause will not be known until the results of a post-mortem examination are released, possibly not until next week.

The death comes as the rate with which the outbreak is spreading continues to grow rapidly with 43 cases in the two days to Thursday.

That brought the headline total, in what is now one of the biggest measles epidemics to hit the UK in a decade, to 808 cases.

Dr Marion Lyons, director of Health Protection at PHW, said: “We are aware of a death being investigated by the coroner.”