Parents are being urged to visit their GP to check if their child had both doses of MMR vaccine, after HPA figures show cases of measles have almost doubled this year compared with last.
The latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show that 964 cases of measles were reported in the first six months of 2012, almost twice as many cases compared to the same period in 2011, when 497 cases were reported.
Instances of rubella have also soared, The 57 cases reported between January and June this year exceeds the annual totals for each of the previous nine years.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the HPA, said: ‘It’s extremely concerning that measles cases are continuing to rise. Measles can be very serious and parents should understand the risks associated with the infection, which in severe cases can result in death.
‘Although uptake of the MMR has improved in recent years some children do not get vaccinated on time and some older children, who missed out when uptake was lower, have not had a chance to catch-up.
‘Therefore, there are still enough people who are not protected to allow some large outbreaks to occur among unvaccinated individuals.’
‘It’s vital that children receive both doses of the MMR vaccination and ahead of returning to school after the holidays, we are urging parents to ensure their children have received the two doses, which will provide the best protection against the risks associated with measles, mumps and rubella.
‘If you are unsure if your child has had two doses of the vaccination, speak to your GP who will have a record of which vaccinations your child has received.’