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Measles cases continue to rise across Sussex
An outbreak of measles across Sussex is showing no signs of slowing.
More than 300 people have been struck down by the virus this year, higher than anywhere else in the country apart from Merseyside.
Brighton and Hove is the worst hit area and specialist clinics are being held throughout the summer holidays to get people up-to-date with their measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations.
Health bosses are urging people to make sure they and their children have both doses of the MMR vaccine.
They say poor take up rates for the vaccine have led to the rise in numbers and thousands of people are vulnerable to infection.
There have been 180 cases in the city so far compared to 65 for the whole of 2011 while East Sussex has had 86 and West Sussex, which has the best MMR take up rates, has 38.
Overall, there have been 304 cases throughout the county compared to 173 for all of last year.
The actual number could be higher because not every suspected measles case is sent for testing.
Angela Iversen, director at the Health Protection Agency’s Sussex and Surrey unit, said: “We are seeing a significant increase in the number of measles cases in Sussex.
“We really would urge parents to make sure their children are protected by contacting their GP surgery and asking for the MMR vaccine, if they haven’t already done so.
“The more children who have the jabs – you need two to be fully immunised – the better the protection, not just for them but for the whole community.”
Before the arrival of the vaccine, measles was a common childhood infec- tion.
The most common complications are ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhoea and related dehydration.
Other less common complications include convulsions and encephalitis, an infection that causes the brain to swell.
The next immunisation sessions are being held at the Moulsecoomb chil- dren’s centre in Hodshrove Lane, Brighton on Monday and at the Morley Street clinic on Tuesday.
Another session will be held at the Hove Polyclinic on Thursday.
All sessions will be held from 1pm to 4pm.
For more details on immunisation, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit www.immunisation.nhs.uk.
For more information about health services in your area go to theargus.co.uk/localinfo.