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Emergency measures to stop measles outbreak

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The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has told NHS trusts in south east London to offer MMR jabs closer together amid concerns over an outbreak of measles.

So far this year, the HPA has received reports of 226 cases of measles in the area.

They said that giving children the second jab one to three months after the first, rather than two years apart, may help prevent the number of cases from rising.

Fears of a link with autism in the late 1990’s saw a significant drop in uptake of the MMR vaccine in England. Although latest statistics show 85% of children received the triple-jab in 2006-07, figures for London fall way below this.

Between October and December last year, nearly 75% of London children received the first jab, but only 50% had the second injection.

Diana McInnes, consultant in communicable disease control at South East London Health Protection Unit, said the increase in measles cases is a cause for concern.

‘Our main focus is to remind people that they need two doses of the MMR vaccine to be fully protected,’ she said.

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