North East measles outbreak

It is estimated there are 30 new cases of measles every week in the North East. Doctors are urging parents to get their children vaccinated against the disease.

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Roll-out of measles programme across Tees Valley schools

Parents with children at schools across the Tees Valley are set to receive letters and consent forms over the next few days urging them to take up the offer of the MMR vaccination.

The move follows an outbreak of measles across the North East and is being carried out by the Tees Outbreak Control team.

The team are now introducing a school-based MMR vaccination campaign - to be offered to all children who have yet to be vaccinated against the illness.

The vaccinations will take place across the next few weeks.

"Measles is a highly infectious disease and people can feel very poorly when they have contracted it. 17 per cent of the current cases have required hospital treatment and the disease can lead to rare yet serious complications.

"I would therefore urge all parents to get their child vaccinated through the school based campaign if they have not been immunised already.

"MMR is a safe and highly effective vaccination which protects against measles as well as mumps and rubella."

– Professor Peter Kelly, Chair of the Tees Outbreak Control Team and Director of Public Health at Stockton Council

"I'm very pleased and reassured to see arrangements between the local authorities, NHS England, Public Health North East and the School Nursing Teams working effectively to tackle this outbreak.

"I would like to urge all parents to listen to Professor Kelly's message and make sure their children are vaccinated."

– Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health

What to do if you think you or your child has measles

To prevent spreading measles, North East Public Health England have issued the following advice about what to do if you think you, or your child, has measles:

  • Stay away from school, nursery or work until at least four full days have elapsed after the development of a rash.
  • Telephone your GP surgery or NHS walk-in centre to tell them that you or your child has a rash before attending, so arrangements can be made to minimise contact with other patients.
  • Avoid going to A&E unless you are seriously ill, and if you do attend, telephone ahead to let them know you or your child may have measles.
  • Avoid contact with pregnant women, people with weak immune systems and babies who are too young to be vaccinated, as they are more vulnerable to infection.

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Hunt hits out at 'discredited' MMR scare claims

A global scare sparked by the "discredited and inaccurate" claims of a doctor 15 years ago over the MMR vaccine have caused huge worry to parents in South Wales following a measles epidemic in the region, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said Dr Andrew Wakefield's comments about the vaccination had "absolutely no scientific basis" as he urged parents of children who had not been given two doses to contact their local GP as soon as possible.

Mr Hunt told the Commons, "What Andrew Wakefield said had absolutely no scientific basis and has caused huge damage and huge worry to many thousands of parents".

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Credit: ITV News

"It is very important to reiterate that the scientific way to prevent measles, which can be a horrible, even fatal disease, is to make sure that you have had two doses of MMR", he continued.

"Parents of children who have not had those doses, parents of children of any age, should contact their GP if they have not had those two doses, particularly in the current circumstances".

Health experts call on parents to get children vaccinated

There has been a steady increase in the number of cases of measles in the North East - with around 30 new cases being diagnosed every week.

The most affected are children living on Teesside and the last outbreak was in Hartlepool in 2009 where clinics were set up so more children could be vaccinated.

Professor Peter Kelly, the director of Teesside's measles outbreak control team, spoke to ITV News about how parents can protect their children against the disease.

Measles outbreak: 30 new cases across the region every week

There has been a steady increase of cases of measles across the North East.

It is estimated there are 30 new cases every week and doctors are urging parents to get their children vaccinated against the disease.

The most affected are children aged between 10 and 14 and living on Teesside.

The last major outbreak was in Hartlepool in 2009, where clinics were set up so more children could be vaccinated.

Doctors say parents should protect their children against the disease.

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