Outbreak of measles ‘a timely reminder’

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A LEADING child health expert has warned that an outbreak of measles on Merseyside is a “timely reminder” that Britain remains susceptible to the disease.

The Health Protection Agency said that Merseyside is suffering its worst outbreak of measles since the introduction of the MMR vaccine in 1988, with 216 confirmed cases since January. further 88 probable cases are under investigation.

Half the cases registered in the metropolitan area have affected children, with another 30 per cent aged 15 or over.

Kim Mulholland, professor of child health and vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “The current outbreak of measles in the Merseyside area is a timely reminder that Britain, like other European countries, remains susceptible to measles outbreaks.

“Over half of the more than 200 cases were under five years of age, which is not surprising given that more than 10 per cent of British children under five are not vaccinated against measles. This provides more than enough susceptible children to sustain outbreaks, which will continue while immunisation coverage is inadequate and measles continues to circulate in other parts of the world.”

Measles is a very infectious” illness which spreads quickly among children and adults who are not vaccinated.