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East Lancashire parents warned as measles cases spike in children
HEALTH bosses have advised people to get their children’s immunisations up to date after a spike in the number of measles cases.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed there have been 75 cases of the virus in Lancashire so far this year.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated is being urged to make arrangements with their doctors to get their immunisations up to date.
GP surgeries in the Colne area have put up posters offering advice about the highly infectious virus after at least one case was found in the area.
Nationally there were almost twice as many confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales reported to the Health Protection Agency in 2012 than the previous year and the increase has continued to grow so far this year.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the HPA, said: “It’s extremely concerning that measles cases are continuing to rise. Measles can be very serious and parents should understand the risks associated with the infection, which in severe cases can result in death.
“Although uptake of the MMR has improved in recent years some children do not get vaccinated on time and some older children, who missed out when uptake was lower, have not had a chance to catch-up.
“Therefore, there are still enough people who are not protected to allow some large outbreaks to occur among unvaccinated individuals.
“It’s vital that children receive both doses of the MMR vaccination and ahead of returning to school after the holidays.
“We are urging parents to ensure their children have received the two doses, which will provide the best protection against the risks associated with measles, mumps and rubella.
“If you are unsure if your child has had two doses of the vaccination, speak to your GP who will have a record of which vaccinations your child has received.”
A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said that doctors surgeries across the county have been advised to ensure their stocks of the measles vaccine are full in the event of a rush of people to requiring it.
She said: “We have been working closely with GP surgeries across Lancashire to ensure that the message is being for people to get themselves or their children vaccinated.”
She added: “Surgeries are also being informed of any outbreaks and in that event are being advised to have stocks of the vaccine available.”