Suffolk: More cases of measles this year already than total for 2012

Vaccination programme to protect against measles is to be rolled out across the county.

Vaccination programme to protect against measles is to be rolled out across the county. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

SIX cases of measles have been recorded in the county so far this year – already exceeding the amount for whole of last year, latest figures reveal.

With the high numbers of measles cases across the country, particularly in Swansea, a national catch-up programme is to be launched to increase the MMR vaccination uptake in children and teenagers.

The aim of the programme, run by Public Health England (PHE), NHS England and the Department of Health, is to prevent measles outbreaks in time for the next school year.

Figures from PHE show that since the beginning of this year, there have been six confirmed measles cases in Suffolk (five of which were in March). This exceeds the total for the whole of last year, when there were just four cases in the county.

Overall there have been 25 cases across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Peterborough, Southend on Sea, Suffolk and Thurrock, compared to 17 for the whole of 2012.

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Experts believe the rise in measles cases can be mostly attributed to the proportion of unprotected 10-16 year-olds, who missed out on vaccination in the late 1990s and early 2000s when concern around the discredited link between autism and the vaccine was widespread.

Dr Gina Radford, Anglia and Essex PHE director, said: “The only way to prevent measles outbreaks is to ensure good uptake of the MMR across all age groups, and that when cases are reported, immediate public health action is taken to protect vulnerable individuals as soon as possible.”

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