Suffolk: Concern as 13 cases of measles detected in county so far this year

Measles vaccination kit

Measles vaccination kit - Credit: PA

The number of people infected with measles has shot up in Suffolk – with nine more cases already confirmed so far this year than in the whole of 2012.

Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated after the latest figures showed that the total number of people who contracted the disease in Suffolk as of April this year stood at 13.

There were just four in total in the county in 2012.

Dr Gina Radford, Public Health England’s Anglia and Essex centre director, has appealed to parents to get their children checked for the disease.

“The vaccine is there ready to be used and could save your child’s life,” she said. “Measles is a serious illness which can lead to serious complications.

“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 figures were produced by Public Health England as part of the national MMR catch–up programme.

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It aims to prevent measles outbreaks by giving MMR to unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10 to 16-year-olds ahead of the next school year.

This age group is most at risk of measles due to the fall in coverage of MMR that occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s when concern around the discredited link between autism and the vaccine was widespread.

A total of 33 people contracted measles in East Anglia in the first four months of 2013 – while the figure stood at three in Essex.

There were 288 measles cases in England in April, bringing this year’s total to 962.