Measles outbreak hits England as parents shun MMR vaccine

Rob Waugh
Parents are being advised to be on the lookout for the warning signs of measles, as an increased number of cases have been reported across the UK.

A measles outbreak has infected 140 people across England, according to figures released by Public Health England.

There have been 47 confirmed cases in the West Midlands, 35 confirmed cases in West Yorkshire, 29 confirmed cases in Cheshire and Liverpool, 22 confirmed cases in Surrey and 7 confirmed cases in Greater Manchester.

It’s believed that the outbreak could be caused by travellers coming back from Europe, Public Health England says.

Experts have also blamed the MMR autism scare for a drop in the number of parents vaccinating children.

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Vaccinated people can catch diseases such as measles, but vaccination dramatically lowers the risk – and Public Health England is urging parents to give children the MMR vaccine.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said, ‘The measles outbreaks we are currently seeing in England are linked to ongoing large outbreaks in Europe.

‘This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at 3 years and 4 months of age. Children and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had 2 doses should contact their GP practice to catch-up.’

‘We’d also encourage people to ensure they are up to date with their MMRvaccine before travelling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks.’

‘Anti-vaxxers’ refuse to immunise children, in the (mistaken) belief that vaccines cause conditions such as autism.

Previous research in America suggested that a rise in measles cases may be due to ‘anti-vaxxers’.

Researchers analysed 1,789 cases of measles in America between 2001 and 2