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  1. ITV Report

Are Your Kids Contagious?

Diseases like measles and mumps would be all but wiped out if wasn't for the fact that millions of children aren’t being fully immunised. Photo: REUTERS/Nicky Loh

With millions of tourists set to visit Britain this summer for the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympic Games, ITV1s Tonight programme examines the fears of health officials that we could be facing a widespread outbreak of Measles.

One part of the country already reporting a tenfold increase in cases.

The increase in measles is one of the most serious events in this decade - if we look at all the infectious diseases this is the most prominent increase, so I’m very concerned.

– Marc Sprenger, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Other contagious childhood illnesses, like Whooping Cough and Mumps, are also on the rise.

Yet doctors say these diseases couldhave been all-but confined to history – were it not for the fact that millions of children aren’t being fully immunised.

In an exclusive Netmums survey of 2000 people Tonight found that 45% of people don’t consider vaccines to be completely safe.

Tonight investigates the effect Dr Andrew Wakefield’s report linking Autism to the triple MMR vaccine had on immunization rates and speaks to parents who have chosen to opt out of all vaccinations.

Mum Nicola Adolphe told us:

If I give a vaccine and something went wrong, I might never be able to get that back… that's not a risk I’d like to take. I believe that things like breastfeeding, good food, good diet, exercise sunshine fresh air and hygiene are much more vital to health.

But the Health Protection Agency warn that by choosing not to immunise you not only put your child at risk but other children.

If for whatever reason your children aren’t vaccinated you are not only putting your children at risk your children could potentially expose other individuals their friends other members of the family.

I think any parent would feel dreadful if your child exposed another child who then suffered some serious complications from vaccine preventable disease.

– Dr Mary Ramsey, Health Protection Agency
Dr Mary Ramsey says not vaccinating your child will put others at risk. Credit: ITV Tonight

Tonight speaks to parents Dawn and Dave Benson whose five week-old daughter Eliza May died of whooping cough last December.

Babies are routinely vaccinated against this highly contagious airborne disease at 8 weeks – Eliza Mae was too young to be vaccinated.

Her parents believe the drop in immunization rates is the reason why their little girl came into contact with the disease and became infected.

Mr Benson told us:

The message that needs to go out to other parents... it’s not just getting their children vaccinated - it’s about the whole of the country and looking after everybody else in the country.

Dawn and Dave Benson's daughter Eliza May died of whooping cough last year. Credit: ITV Tonight

Are Your Kids Contagious is on ITV1 at 7.30pm.

If you’d like to get in touch with the programme, please email tonight@itv.com.