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Shocked family's struggle after Swansea dad's sudden death of suspected Measles

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 21, 2013

  • Gareth Colfer-Williams and partner Cairo Oneim

Comments (15)

THE mother of a Swansea man who was suffering from measles when he died has told how his family are struggling to come to terms with his death.

The body of Gareth Colfer-Williams, a dad of one, was discovered by a relative at his home on Port Tennant Road on Thursday morning.

Tests have revealed he was suffering from measles, but Public Health Wales has said further investigations are under way to determine his exact cause of death.

His mother, Angela Colfer, said: "He was a wonderful son and a wonderful father, uncle and brother.

"He was covered in a rash, and what with the measles epidemic in Swansea we wanted to get him to hospital.

"He had spots everywhere except along his arm. I took him to the out-of-hours GP because he was so unwell.

"He had been in Morriston Hospital for five or six days before he was sent home."

The former Morriston Comprehensive pupil, who had five sisters, had other health problems, including asthma.

The 25-year-old was father to 3-year-old daughter Dakota, and partner to Cairo.

Mrs Colfer said: "They are having a terrible time. They are devastated.

"He was a wonderful father."

A post mortem was carried out yesterday on the body of Mr Colfer-Williams, who was originally from Morriston.

His landlord Dave Simpson said: "I didn't know him very well, but he seemed lovely, as does his partner."

One nearby shop worker, who didn't wish to be named, said: "One of the customers came in on Friday morning and told us.

"We are a very close-knit community around here and you don't expect something like this, it is a real shock.

"We have obviously heard about it on the news and it is very worrying.

"It's terrible, you do not think at that age, 25, you would come down with measles."

St Thomas councillor Clive Lloyd, whose ward includes Port Tennant, said: "I am absolutely shocked. My initial thoughts are with the family, and I am devastated for them."

A South Wales Police spokesman said: "We are investigating the sudden and unexplained death of a 25-year-old man whose body was discovered in Port Tennant, Swansea, on Thursday, April 18.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious.

"The next of kin and HM Coroner have been informed."

ABMU’s Director of Public Health, Sara Hayes, added: "I would like to extend sincere sympathies to the family of this patient over this sad loss."We would like to clarify that this patient was not admitted to Morriston Hospital with measles".

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  • JoeRoberts  |  April 26 2013, 12:14AM

    It is not true that all papers reported the MMR scare the same way. SWEP stands put for its alarmist approach. Papers like the Sunday Times exposed Wakefield. How does SWEP coverage compare with the SE Echo of the time?

    |   6
  • Jiffy  |  April 24 2013, 9:17AM

    All these anti-MMR posts are making sense. Apparently a private company has been giving single measles vaccines in Swansea. Given this news - I believe the EP needs to look carefully at who has been making these posts and have them removed, as they are nothing more than spam.

    |   14
  • EwenM  |  April 23 2013, 5:38PM

    meg; What would give the impression that you endorsing the book? Could it have been these comments of yours: "really interesting" "a good book to read" "very compelling and well-researched starting point" "a lot of good information in this book" "have learned a lot from reading this" "happy reading" ? So which bits of the book did you not agree with? And if questioning your opinions makes me narrow-minded, then how come you've questioned my opinions? If you want to support your opinions, you could start with some facts instead of attacking the person who asks the questions. Speaking of facts, the 50,000 figure you quoted - if it's not actually made up - must have come from somewhere. So, if it's not fiction, you should be able to tell us, shouldn't you, 'my love'? The figure I saw (http://tinyurl.com/r9mt6n) reckoned on 13,000 single vaccines in the year 2001 in the whole UK. At that rate it would take almost 4 years to accumulate 50,000 vaccinations, ignoring the obvious fact that SWEP is not widely read across the whole UK. So where do you get your claim that "SWEP are actually responisable [sic] for getting over 50,000 children vaccinated with the single vaccine"?

    |   5
  • meg_loopy  |  April 23 2013, 7:35AM

    who is saying that i agree with the e-book? just because i think its a good starting point to gether information doesnt mean i agree with everything in the book. Your arrogance and assumptions astound me ewen, but it doesnt susprise me. you can question my opinions all you like, it just makes you come across as a close minded narrow minded person, so fire away my love. Yes wouldn't you just love to know where this 50,000 figure came from ...guess your not so well informed as you think you are. So i suggest before you ****g off SWEP etc know what your talking about first. so easy to jump in on the band wagon and spout of eh?

    |   -5
  • EwenM  |  April 22 2013, 9:34PM

    Sure, everyone's entitled to their opinions but if you don't want your opinions questioned then don't post them on a public forum, or publish a book. I'm not against people getting informed - quite the opposite - but if the only books you read are ones you already agree with then you're not going to learn anything new. Anyway, I'm more interested in this 50,000 single measles vaccines you were talking about. Where did that number come from? I've not heard it before.

    |   4
  • meg_loopy  |  April 22 2013, 9:23PM

    ewen just because you have your opinion doesnt mean others cant have theres. just because you dont find vaacine illusion helpful or interesting doesnt mean others wont... opinions on vaccination is like the new religion you either believe it works or you dont. the arguement will never really be won. But the fact is anyone who has a scientific background decides for what ever reason to come out and say different to the establishment is going to get discredited, debunked just like you do on here... what are you so afraid off? Most people vaccinate, why are you so scared of people getting information to decide for themselves. especially as you say your not a doc... that scares me right there that people like you are so against other people trying to get informed with all opinions not just the nhs who phs version. your for vaccination brilliant wonderful its everybodies choice at the end of the day ,and everybody has a choice on what they read to come to that decision.

    |   -9
  • EwenM  |  April 22 2013, 8:54PM

    Meg, I have also been thinking: 1. Why do you think there are 1000 victims when there are only 808? Why do you think 50,000 people took up the single vaccine? 2. What happened to your point 2? 3. Not everyone who has been vaccinated will test positive for measles antibodies. MMR is 95-99% effective i.e. 1-5% will not have antibodies. 4. Was Mr Williams vaccinated? Don't know. Why are you interested? Are you planning to extrapolate wildly from a single case? 5. There's a post mortem to establish his cause of death. Not that a single, tragic case will tell us much about the risks we're facing. 6. If meg loopy was run over by a car, would she try to blame it on MMR? 7. Can a vaccinated person contract measles? Yes - see point 3. "we will never know whether he was vaccinated as this would prove the vaccine immunity doesnt last" you say. I see you're wildly (and incorrectly) extrapolating from speculation about a single case. Firstly, there's a difference between primary and secondary vaccine failure. Vaccine immunity not lasting is secondary vaccine failure. From the age distribution of people affected in the current, and previous, measles outbreaks, we can see that those most at risk are the ones who were not vaccinated around 2001-2003. If secondary vaccine failure, or "waning immunity" if you will, were to blame then we would see an increasing risk of measles in older people. That's not happening, ergo it is not secondary vaccine failure. If someone has had the MMR and still catches measles then it would probably be primary vaccine failure i.e. their immune system did not respond to the MMR in the first place, which is what the "95-99% effective" figure refers to. As for the book ('Vaccine Illusion' by Dr Tetyana Obukhanych is what meg's link is selling), well, it doesn't matter who wrote it. 'Nullius in verba' and all that. Notable is that apart from this one immunologist, every other immunologist would say that she is wrong. Why does Obukhanych deserve special mention as the only authority on immunology? I'm sure her book looks very scientific but is there any evidence to back up her claims? Is there evidence which contradicts her which she omits to mention? This website has a look at her claims: http://tinyurl.com/blt5tpn and, although it spends too much time worrying about Obukhanych's qualifications, eventually the verdict is that no, she offers no evidence and yes, she ignores substantial evidence that would contradict her claims.

    |   5
  • meg_loopy  |  April 22 2013, 10:02AM

    having been thinking lately i have questions: 1. How many of the 1000 victims of the measles outbreak were vaccinated? 3. Would not anyone who had been vaccinated test positive for measles antibodies? 4. Was Mr Williams vaccinated? 5. What was the actual cause of Mr Williams's death? 6. If someone with measles was run over by a car and killed, would that person have died of measles? 7. Can a vaccinated person contract measles? Mr williams would have been the first generation to have the MMR at 25 i have a feeling we will never know whether he was vaccinated as this would prove the vaccine immunity doesnt last and basically you need to get vaccinated every 3/4 years . kind of makes you think though... This e-book is really interesting reading for parents who want to make informed choice or basically just know more. http://tinyurl.com/d3l7yfj by DR Tetyana Obukhanych PHD a immunologist. If you have any interest in researching vaccination and immunity, I think this is a good book to read. This book alone will not answer all your questions, but offers a very compelling and well-researched starting point, or continuing point, for the discussion of vaccines. There is a lot of good information in this book, and as a mom who has already researched vaccination extensively, I still have learned a lot from reading this. Though she comes from a very scientific background, she has written this book in a way that it could be understood by nearly anyone, because she defines many of the scientific terms she uses. If you havent got a kindle, no worries you can download it to your PC as amazon has free software which enables you to read it, called kindle reading app. happy reading !

    |   -8
  • meg_loopy  |  April 22 2013, 9:02AM

    swep only reported what every other paper was reporting at the time. thats what papers do they report. you might aswell blame every news paper in the country then.... and dont forget SWEP are actually responisable for getting over 50,000 children vaccinated with the single vaccine with there reporting where clinics were being held and on who set up clinic to deal with demand as the government were so concerned over this deadly disease they simply said MMR or nothing. But its a deadly disease it kills and its all about the protecting the children .....right? kind of makes you think....

    |   -9
  • lancelot69  |  April 21 2013, 10:25PM

    The swep know they are in deep water for their reporting years ago, by deleting these posts they are just admitting to their guilt. Rip dear boy, too young a life to be taken, my heart goes out to his family and friends :( xx