Measles outbreak warning

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HEALTH chiefs are urging people to get protected against measles as a North-East outbreak continues.

Since the beginning of September 2012, when the numbers started increasing, 181 confirmed cases and 162 suspected cases of the illness have now been reported across the region – an increase of 17 confirmed and four suspected cases on the previous week.

In Hartlepool there have been two confirmed cases and in County Durham, which includes Peterlee and East Durham, there have been 18.

The majority of cases have been reported in the Tees area and people aged between 10 and 19 years continue to be most affected, making up 41 per cent of all cases.

Julia Waller, immunisation lead for the Health Protection Agency in the North-East, said: “Measles is highly infectious and unvaccinated children and adults who haven’t had it before are at risk when it is circulating, as it is now in this region.

“There is no treatment for measles, but it can be prevented by the MMR vaccine and two doses are required to ensure the best protection.

“If anyone is unsure about their immunisation status they should check with their GP. If you’ve missed out on MMR in the past it’s always possible to catch-up as the vaccine can be given at any age.”