Measles vaccination warning after rise in confirmed cases

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Health officials are urging the public to check they are vaccinated against measles after a steep rise in cases.

Public Health England (PHE) said there have been 913 laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England so far this year.

This is an increase compared to the 259 cases during the same period last year.

Among the recent surge this year 34 cases have been confirmed in the North West, including three in Greater Manchester, 25 in Cheshire and Merseyside, and six in Cumbria and Lancashire.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious complications and can be fatal in very rare cases.

Outbreaks across England began emerging in the Spring and were linked with travel to and from Europe where there have been ongoing problems.

Experts believe the disease is primarily affecting younger people who did not have the vaccine as a child due to unfounded health fears.Uptake fell heavily in 1998 after a study linked it to autism and bowel disease.The study was widely discredited and the author Andrew Wakefield was eventually banned from working as a doctor by the General Medical Council.

After another spike during the summer, Public Health England now say the outbreaks are under control.

But health chiefs are again urging people to make sure they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “We will continue to see measles cases in unvaccinated individuals and are monitoring the situation carefully.

“People who have not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk.

“We want to remind people that measles is not just a disease of young children, and most of the cases this year have been in people over the age of 15.

“Adults or parents who are unsure if they or their children have been fully vaccinated should check with their GP and make an appointment to receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine.

Source:https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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