Measles cases are on the rise

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More parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Public Health England (PHE) is calling on parents to help it reach the World Health Organisations (WHO) target that 95 per cent of two-year-olds should have the vaccination.

Wigan is already well ahead of the WHO target, with latest figures showing 95.8 per cent of Wigan children were vaccinated at the age of two - when the first of two MMR jabs is administrated - while 96.7 per cent of five-year-olds had the jab during the six months between April and September last year.

The call to get vaccinated coincides with European Immunisation Week, which is run by the WHO with the theme to “close the immunisation gap”. It also coincides with an increase in measles cases currently being seen in England.

PHE said that vaccine uptake rates in England are currently among the highest in Europe, but an increase is still needed to reach the target nationally.

The measles immunisation gap in England equates to approximately 24,000 children in England every year (2,000 a month) who are not currently receiving MMR vaccination at the scheduled time (from 12 months of age) and who remain susceptible to the diseases the vaccine protects against.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. It’s now less common in the UK because of the effective MMR vaccination programme.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE said: “We’re asking parents, young people and healthcare professionals to help us eradicate measles in this country. This is an opportunity to consign measles to the history books. The cases we are seeing currently in England are mainly in adolescents and young adults and it’s never too late for them to have the vaccine.”