Warning after outbreak of measles

PARENTS are being urged to vaccinate their children with MMR today following an outbreak of measles in Suffolk.In the last 12-months at least 31 people in the county, mostly children, have developed the potentially deadly illness.

PARENTS are being urged to vaccinate their children with MMR today following an outbreak of measles in Suffolk.

In the last 12-months at least 31 people in the county, mostly children, have developed the potentially deadly illness.

However, the take-up of the vaccine designed to prevent measles, as well as mumps and rubella, remains at about three quarters of the population.

Today the county's health chief tasked with keeping the public as healthy as possible warned that people could die unless more children were given the controversial vaccination.


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Dr Peter Bradley, director of public health for Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) said: “Measles is a nasty disease, it has the potential to kill children, and children need to be vaccinated against the disease.

“Because of the scare which linked MMR with autism, and has now been discredited, vaccination rates have gone down and there have been outbreaks of measles.

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“In Suffolk we know of at least 31 cases but there have probably been a lot more.

“It is worrying since measles is completely preventable.

“The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks and the worry is that the low take-up will end in tragic consequences - eventually one of the children who doesn't have the vaccine is going to get very sick.”

In 2006 76 per cent of children in Ipswich received the two MMR recommended injections, one before their second birthday and one before their fifth birthday.

In Suffolk Costal and Central Suffolk areas the take-up was also 76pc while in Suffolk West it was 64pc.

To achieve herd immunity, meaning it would be unlikely that measles could spread, a vaccination rate of between 85pc and 95pc is needed.

For more information about the vaccination contact your GP or visit www.mmrthefacts.nhs.uk.

Are you worried your child is at risk because other people are not immunising their children with MRR? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

MMR

MMR is the combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella.

Children are given two vaccinations because after the first dose between 5pc and 10pc are not protected against the diseases. After two doses of MMR, less than 1pc are left unprotected.

More than 500 million doses of MMR have been used in more than 90 countries around the world since the early 1970s.

The vaccine became controversial after a study in 1998 suggested there was a link between MMR and autism.

Since 1998 numerous medial studies have reported that MMR does not cause autism.

SOURCE: MMR The Facts

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