PARENTS are being urged to make sure their children are vaccinated after an outbreak of measles.

Public Health England issued a letter through Brighton and Hove’s schools yesterday afternoon warning of the outbreak.

Five cases were confirmed within just a few hours this afternoon.

In the letter consultant in communicable disease control Dr Peter English said: “There has been a case of confirmed measles in a child who lives in Brighton and Hove. For reasons of medical confidentiality, we will not identify the child further. It is possible that other children – who attend various schools and nurseries in the area – will have caught measles from this child; and if so, they may then pass it on to other unvaccinated children.

“If your child has not had two doses of MMR, please contact your GP to arrange for them to be vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Brighton and Hove is particularly susceptible to measles outbreaks because the city has a lower than average take up of vaccinations.

Measles can be serious, particularly for people who have a weakened immune system, pregnant women and young babies.

Initial symptoms can include a cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough, sore red eyes, fever and small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks.

A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body. People with measles are infectious from just before they become unwell, and remain infectious until four or five days after the rash appears. They should be kept away from school, nursery, and from other children and vulnerable people throughout this period.

In 2013 the city had one of the country’s biggest outbreaks of the disease - with 195 people falling ill.

In March this year a year seven pupil at Dorothy Stringer School in Loder Road, Brighton, was diagnosed with rubella - also known as German measles.