The Health Protection Agency is urging parents to protect their children against measles by ensuring they have been immunised with two doses of MMR.
This is particularly important given the increase in cases in children and young adults over the last month.
Since the beginning of 2011, 275* laboratory confirmed cases of measles have been reported to the HPA between January - April, compared to 33 cases for the same period the previous year. Cases are associated with either recent travel abroad or small clusters in mainly unvaccinated children and young adults between the ages of 10-24.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of the immunisation department at the Health Protection Agency, said: “Measles is a highly infectious and dangerous illness which spreads very easily particularly in schools and universities. It is crucial that children and young adults are fully immunised with two doses of MMR.”
The recent upsurge in cases is probably related to recent travel to and from Europe. This means that measles can spread easily in schools, summer camps and universities among children and young adults who are not fully immunised.
“We again are reminding parents to remain vigilant against measles and that it’s never too late to get your child immunised with two doses of the MMR vaccine. We cannot stress enough that measles is serious and in some cases it can be fatal. Delaying immunisation puts children at risk.”