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MMR campaign backed to slow rise in measles

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The Health Protection Agency has welcomed the government’s MMR catch-up programme, announced last week.

The agency said its latest modelling research suggested there was now a real risk of a large measles outbreak in England of between 30,000 to 100,000 cases – the majority in London.

Professor Elizabeth Miller, head of immunisation at the agency, said: ‘Measles is a very serious infection as it can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis. It is not possible to tell who will be seriously affected by measles.

‘This is why it’s incredibly important to continue to remind parents about the benefits of having their child vaccinated with two doses of MMR for optimum protection. It is never too late to get vaccinated,’ she said.

Chief medical officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson has told PCTs to offer MMR to unvaccinated patients up to the age of 18.

Public confidence in the vaccine is recovering according to latest vaccine data. MMR uptake for children reaching 24 months of age between January and March 2008 was stable at 84.1% in the UK. However, this remains below the 90% recommended by the World Health Organization.

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