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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS - 1/12/08

Child epidemic warning

Monday December 1st, 2008

Britain risks epidemics of infectious diseases among its children because of low vaccination rates, experts warned as new figures showed measles cases soaring.

This year's measles toll is already the highest in more than ten years, the Health Protection Agency warned.

By the end of October some 1,048 cases had been recorded - compared with 990 cases in 12 months last year. The majority of cases - some 626 - were in London.

The HPA blamed the slump in MMR vaccination rates over the last ten years - even though rates have improved recently and more than 80 per cent of infants receive the vaccine.

The HPA warned an epidemic could affect as many as 30,000 children.

Dr Mary Ramsay, of the HPA, said: "This means that measles is spreading easily among unvaccinated children.

"There is now a real risk of a large measles epidemic. These children are susceptible to not only measles but to mumps and rubella as well."

She added:"We shouldn't forget that the children who weren't vaccinated many years ago are at real risk. Measles is a very serious infection as it can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis, even in healthy children.

"It is highly infectious it can be passed on without direct contact before the rash appears."

Tags: Child Health | Flu & Viruses | UK News

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