April figures confirm North-East as measles capital of England and more in Middlesbrough than elsewhere (From The Northern Echo)
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April figures confirm North-East as measles capital of England and more in Middlesbrough than elsewhere
THE North-East was the measles capital of England during April, according to new figures.
Of the 288 confirmed cases of measles recorded in England during April, 111 were recorded in the region.
The confirmed measles cases were concentrated on Teesside and in Middlesbrough in particular.
Special clinics in Teesside schools have now immunised more than 2,000 primary and secondary school children with the MMR - measles, mumps and Rubella - triple vaccine to try to contain the potentially serious disease.
Public health officials have warned that parents could be putting their childrens lives at risk if they dont ensure they are immunised.
The regions most affected by the current measles outbreak are the North-East and the North-West - with this area recording the highest number of any English region.
The total number of confirmed measles cases in England up to the end of April is now 962.
This continues the upward trend seen since early 2012 with monthly totals close to the highest recorded levels seen since 1994.
Up to the end of April, 320 cases were confirmed in the North-East, compared with a total of 49 cases reported in 2012.
While Darlington had six cases in 2013 and County Durham has five, Middlesbrough had 156 and Stockton had 81.
During April alone, Middlesbrough notched up 57 confirmed cases.
A national immunisation programme is underway to give MMR jabs to as many unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated ten to 16 year olds as possible, in time for the start of the next school year.
This age group is most at risk of measles due to the fall in the number of children vaccinated in the late 1990s and early 2000s when concern around the now discredited link between autism and the vaccine was widespread.
Dr Roberta Marshall, PHE director for the North-East said: "Our ambition is to vaccinate 95 per cent of ten to 16 year olds in time for the next school year. Local public health teams have been working hard to encourage uptake with children and teenagers in the region.
"The message to parents who think their child may not be fully immunised is to check today and book an appointment with your GP. The vaccine is there ready to be used and could save your child's life. Measles is a serious illness and can lead to serious complications, including hospitalisation in more than one in five cases among teens this year."
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