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Doctor warns of measles risk for Brighton and Hove children
12:20pm Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
Thousands of children and teenagers across Brighton and Hove are at risk of measles as they start school and college this month.
The city’s top doctor, Tom Scanlon warns that almost a quarter of the school population – 8,800 – in the city are not fully protected against the virus.
Brighton and Hove has been experiencing a measles outbreak this year with more than 190 confirmed cases so far.
There have been more than 320 cases across Sussex as a whole, the second highest outbreak in the country.
The actual number is believed to be higher because not all suspected cases are sent for testing.
The rise has been blamed on the poor uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, with people either not vaccinated at all or only having one instead of the necessary two doses.
The number of new cases dropped during the summer holidays but there are fears that they will now start to pick up again as schools and colleges reopen.
Dr Scanlon said: “Around 4,200 five to 11-year-olds and about 4,600 secondary and sixth form college students are either unvaccinated or have had just one MMR vaccination.
“This means 23% of the school population is not fully immunised.
“About one in every 15 children with measles will develop serious complications.
“Measles can kill. I really urge parents to make sure their children are fully protected by having two MMR jabs.
“Teenagers can contact their GP practice themselves if they want the vaccinations.
“Increasing the number of vaccinated children will also help protect children who have serious health problems, such as cancer, and cannot be vaccinated.”
For more information about health services in your area go to theargus.co.uk/localinfo .
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