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Sussex among worst areas affected by measles outbreak
8:50am Sunday 10th February 2013 in News
A measles outbreak across Sussex has contributed to the highest level of cases nationally for 18 years.
There were 330 confirmed cases of the disease in the county during 2012 although the actual number is higher because samples are not taken from every patient.
Brighton and Hove was the worst affected with 195 people falling ill while East Sussex had 90 and West Sussex 45.
The outbreak made up a significant part of the 2,016 confirmed cases in England and Wales throughout the year, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
The increase is blamed on poor take up rates for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).
Around 95% of a community needs to have both doses of the jab in order for it to have the best protection against the virus spreading.
HPA head of immunisation Mary Ramsay said: “Coverage of MMR is now at historically high levels but measles is highly infectious and can spread easily among communities that are poorly vaccinated, and can affect anyone who is susceptible, including toddlers in whom vaccination has been delayed.
"Older children who were not vaccinated at the routine age, who may now be teenagers, are at particular risk of becoming exposed, while at school for example.
"Measles continues to circulate in several European countries that are popular with holidaymakers.
"It is often associated with being a disease of the past and, as a result, people may be unaware that it is a dangerous infection that can lead to death in severe cases.
“Parents should ensure their children are fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella with two doses of the MMR vaccine.”
For more information, people should visit their GP.
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