One million children will be targeted in a measles vaccination drive across England as an outbreak in Wales continues to grow.
ITV News Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:
15 cases of measles have been recorded in the East Midlands in the first three months of this year.Read the full story ›
13 cases of measles have been recorded in the West Midlands in the first three months of this year.Read the full story ›
Public Health Wales is urging young people to get the MMR vaccination before the start of their exams.
The increase of cases shows that the outbreak is not easing up, especially in the 10 to 18 year old age group.
Young people have important examinations coming up and we need to make sure that those aged between 10 and 18 are vaccinated so their preparation for these examinations are not affected.
Vaccination sessions are continuing in schools throughout Wales and I urge pupils and their parents to take advantage of these.
We have seen that measles can be potentially fatal and no one should be complacent about the severity of measles. It can kill but can be prevented by a simple, safe vaccine.
56 new cases have been reported in the measles outbreak since Tuesday, bringing the total number to 942.
Public Health Wales says 83 people have now been hospitalised since the outbreak started.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has urged parents to overcome their apprehension about the MMR jab.
Speaking to LBC 97.3 Radio, he said: "I really would urge parents, whatever your misgivings, do what people who know about this most say is right for your children - get that course of jabs done."
The Government is launching a £20 million campaign to vaccinate a generation of children thought to be the cause of a measles outbreak.
This year is on course to be the worst year for measles outbreaks in two decades.
Already, in the first three months there have been 587 cases in England.
For more information visit the Get Vaccinated England Facebook page.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told LBC radio that his three sons have all had the MMR jab.
I think you have to have trust in the people who look at this.
They have no axe to grind, they just want to do the right thing and come up with the right science.
They have said very categorically that the concern about a link between MMR and other conditions is just not proven, and they say really explicitly that it is really bad for your children's health if you don't take this action.
I really would urge parents, whatever your misgivings, do what people who know about this most say is right for your children - get that course of jabs done.
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."
The most effective way of preventing measles is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
The first MMR vaccination should be given when your child is around 13 months old. A booster is given before your child starts school.
If your child is younger than 13 months and you think they may have been exposed to the measles virus, see your GP immediately.
The MMR may be given if they are over six months old, or they may be given antibodies for immediate protection if they are younger than six months old.
The NHS Choices website has more information on the MMR jab.