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Patients urged to seek measles vaccination amid outbreaks

Patients are being urged to ensure they have their vaccinations as five areas of England have been struck by measles.

According to the most recent Public Health England (PHE) update, published on 15 December, there were 29 cases in West Yorkshire, 28 cases in Leeds, 20 in Cheshire and Liverpool, 10 in Surrey and Sussex and four in Greater Manchester.

PHE analyis from the previous month showed that 16 people contracted measles in Leeds, with smaller numbers also found in Liverpool (11) and Birmingham (9).

Its investigations found that these patients, both children and adults, had not received their second dose of vaccine. 

The World Health Organization recently declared the UK free of the measles virus but due to recent outbreaks in European countries including Germany, Italy and Romania, PHE said it would still feature in people who fail to be vaccinated.

For this reason, PHE is urging patients who did not receive both of their doses of the MMR vaccine to contact their GP practice.

PHE is trying to raise awareness of the outbreaks of the virus in England and in Europe, in collaboration with health professionals and local communities. It has also devised a poster for patient’s use that can be posted in GP practices receptions. 

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

‘People who have recently travelled, or are planning to travel to Romania, Italy and Germany and have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk.

‘This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years and four months of age.’