A national programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children has been announced today.
It comes after 48 people were diagnosed with the disease in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire in the last three months.
The aim of the programme, led by Public Health England, NHS England and the Department of Health, is to prevent measles outbreaks by vaccinating as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds as possible in time for the next school year.
New figures published today show high numbers of confirmed measles cases in England in the first three months of 2013, reaching 587 by end of March, following a record annual high of almost 2,000 cases in 2012.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England said, “Measles is a potentially fatal but entirely preventable disease so we are very disappointed that measles cases have recently increased in England.
"Those who have not been vaccinated should urgently seek at least one dose of MMR vaccination which will give them 95 per cent protection against measles. A second dose is then needed to provide almost complete protection.
"Measles is not a mild illness – it is very unpleasant and can lead to serious complications as we have seen with more than 100 children in England being hospitalised so far this year."
Oxfam's Director of UK Poverty, Chris Johnes, has warned that welfare reforms could tip even more people into food poverty:
These shocking figures show that a perfect storm of spiralling living costs, lack of decent, secure jobs and benefit changes are making it impossible for many people to feed themselves or their families.
It's clear there is a massive hole in the safety net when so many more people are being forced to rely on emergency food handouts.
We are worried this could be just the tip of the iceberg as changes to the welfare system already in the pipeline could rip apart the safety net with devastating consequences for those who rely on it.