Parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated for measles following a number of outbreaks across the country, including Cheshire and Merseyside.
There are 29 confirmed cases in Cheshire and Liverpool currently, with more cases in the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and the South.
The number of cases in Cheshire has risen since the last count before Christmas.
Although there are no reported cases in Cheshire East, the council’s public health service is urging parents to ensure that children and young people receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, if they have not already been immunised. The vaccine is available to all adults and children who are not up to date. Anyone who is not sure should check with their GP.
Dr Matt Tyrer, health protection lead at Cheshire East Council, said: “I would strongly recommend that anyone who has not yet had two doses of MMR makes an appointment with their GP so that they can be fully protected against measles.
“I would also appeal to any parents whose children have not yet had the MMR vaccine to make arrangements with their GP to get them protected as soon as possible.
“Vaccination not only protects your child but also helps stop measles spreading more widely, including to children who are too young to have the vaccination or adults who may be vulnerable.
“MMR is a safe vaccine and is very effective at protecting against measles.”
Measles spreads from person to person very easily and can be a serious illness, which can lead to long-term problems for some people. Although it can lead to cold-like symptoms – such as a runny nose or sore throat – it can also cause a high fever with sore eyes and white spots inside the mouth.
A few days later it can cause a blotchy red/brown rash and, for some people, it can develop into serious, life-threatening complications such as severe lung and brain infections.
Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “With outbreaks of measles in other parts of Cheshire and Merseyside, we wish to send out the message to all families to make sure they are protected.
“Measles is an extremely serious, highly infectious viral infection with very unpleasant complications. It can spread through communities, where people have not been vaccinated, very quickly and we are strongly recommending that residents who have not been vaccinated make sure that they do so and get their children protected.
“But we do not wish to cause panic as many people will have been vaccinated when infants.”
It is customary for children to have received both MMR doses before the age of three years and four months. This is part of the national immunisation schedule but the council and Public Health England are urging anyone who may be in doubt to check with their GP.
Public Health England is also advising travellers to seek advice as there are currently large outbreaks of measles in Romania and Italy.
Further advice about measles can be obtained via this weblink: http://bit.ly/2z8eeYj