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MMR furore blamed as measles cases hit record level

Measles cases have rocketed to record levels in a ‘very worrying' development, according to experts from the Health Protection Agency.

The agency said the majority of the cases were in children aged three to 11 and were a direct result of them not receiving the vaccine when they were toddlers.

The official figures released today show measles cases rose from 56 in 1998 to 1348 last year in England and Wales, a 36% increase on the previous year.

Dr Mary Ramsay, an immunisation expert at the Health Protection Agency, said the figures showed the fall-out of the crisis in confidence in the MMR vaccine ten years ago.

‘The year on year increase of measles across England and Wales is very worrying. Last year saw the highest number of cases since the current method of monitoring the disease was introduced in 1995.

‘What is so alarming is that the majority of these cases could have been prevented as most were in children who were not fully protected with MMR,' she said.

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