New cases of measles in children confirmed

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Two cases of measles in Sheffield children were confirmed in one month, new health figures have shown.

The new cases for June mean the total number of children with measles in the city has now reached 12 this year.

And the statistics come after the city’s Director of Public Health, Jeremy Wight, said a large number of children still need at least another dose of the measles vaccine to ensure they are completely protected from the condition.

Letters have been sent to all parents and children at schools reminding them to check with their GP that they are vaccinated.

There were six cases of measles across the Yorkshire and Humber region in June, and five in May.

Dr Stephen Morton, centre director for Public Health England in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The number of measles cases is remaining stable in the Yorkshire and Humber area at the moment, but we are still seeing a small number of cases every month.”

A national catch-up programme, run by Public Health England, NHS England, the Department of Health and councils, aims to prevent measles outbreaks by giving MMR jabs – which protect against measles, mumps and rubella – to as many as possible unvaccinated and partially vaccinated youngsters aged from 10 to 16.

Dr Morton added: “We are making good progress towards the 95 per cent target, but there still remains a number of 10 to 16-year-olds together with some younger children and adults, who are under-vaccinated.

“While it’s too early to say the catch-up campaign is responsible for the overall decline in the number of measles cases nationally, we can say definitively that children who have not had the MMR vaccine remain at high risk of catching the disease.

“We’d urge parents of children who haven’t had the vaccine to contact their GP and get them vaccinated.”

n Opinion: Page 8

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