Measles cases have reached their highest numbers in 18 years, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said.
The HPA announced that there were 2,106 reported cases of the highly infectious disease in England and Wales last year.
As well as an increase in the number of cases reported, the HPA reported “prolonged outbreaks” of measles in Merseyside, Surrey and Sussex.
Measles, which is fatal in extreme cases, can be inoculated against through the use of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the HPA, strongly advises parents to vaccinate their children against the disease with two shots of the MMR jab.
“Parents of unvaccinated children, as well as older teenagers and adults who may have missed MMR vaccination, should make an appointment with their GP to get vaccinated,” Dr Ramsay said.
Indications of the infection include fever and cold-like symptoms, grey-white spots in the mouth and throat, red eyes and sensitivity to the light. A red-brown rash will appear after a couple of days.
GPs will have medical records of all MMR inoculations, and patients who are unsure whether their children have been immunised should check with their practitioner.