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Poor take-up of MMR vaccine blamed for measles return
Measles has made a comeback in Sussex, a top doctor has warned.
There have been dozens of cases reported in the county so far this year and more than 160 people were struck down with the virus in 2011.
Brighton and Hove director of public health Tom Scanlon said the latest outbreak, which follows a similar one in 2009, showed the disease was now becoming consistent in the community.
He said the developments were “very disappointing” because it was an avoidable situation.
He said: “We had almost got on top of this disease because of the MMR vaccine.
“However, this is the second mini outbreak we have had in the last couple of years.
We should be in a similar situation that we are in with polio which has been all but eradicatedTom Scanlon, Brighton and Hove director of public health
“It is not unreasonable to say that it has made a return to the community and we are likely to see the pattern repeated over the years.
“It is frustrating because it did not need to happen.
"We should be in a similar situation that we are in with polio which has been all but eradicated.
“Giving your children the MMR vaccine is a decision that is down to the parents but it has the added benefit that it does not only just protect your child, it protects others around them.
The poor take-up of the vaccine is being blamed for the outbreak, with Brighton and Hove’s rate standing at about 85%, the lowest in the county.
Many parents choose not to give it to their children because of the now discredited link between the vaccine and autism.
The World Health Organisation recommends that 95% of a community needs to be vaccinated to offer the best possible protection against a disease.
Dr Scanlon’s warning comes as a mother from Southwick, Susan Schofield, urged people to make sure their children are vaccinated to protect both their children and vulnerable ones like her 11-year-old son Robert.
Robert is recovering from a bone marrow transplant after developing a rare condition called aplastic anaemia, but it means he is highly susceptible to infections.
He had recently been allowed to spend five afternoons a week at Shoreham Academy but now has to stay home because two pupils there have been struck down with suspected measles.
Mrs Schofield said: “It is potentially life-threatening for him so staying away is the right thing.
“I would ask all parents to think about people like my son and others to have the vaccination done. Measles can be a really serious disease.”