Health bosses are battling a measles outbreak.

Nine children at two Hove schools have been diagnosed with the potentially fatal infectious disease in the past couple of weeks – more than the entire number of cases in the whole of Sussex last year.

City health bosses are working with the Health Protection Agency to try to prevent the spread of the disease, which can cause serious side effects such as brain damage and fits.

Vaccinations have been organised for pupils at Davigdor Infant and Somerhill Junior schools next week where there have been a cluster of cases.

In some cases babies too young to be vaccinated have contracted the illness from contact with infected older children who have not been given the jabs.

Brighton and Hove has had 29 cases confirmed since the start of the year and another 13 patients are suspected to have measles.

Last year there were just two confirmed cases of measles in the city and eight in total across the county.

Health bosses are urging parents to make sure their children have been inoculated.

The mother of one baby who caught the illness said parents who chose not to take up the MMR jab were “playing Russian roulette” with children’s lives.

For a special report on the extent of measles in Brighton and Hove see pages 20 and 21 of today's Argus.

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