Rise in measles cases as infectious disease confirmed in north west England

Parents in Cumbria are being urged to check that their children are vaccinated. Credit: ITV

Parents are being urged to make sure their children are vaccinated against measles after cases of the virus were confirmed in the north west.

The highly infectious disease can lead to serious problems including pneumonia, meningitis and, on rare occasions, long-term disability or death.

Symptoms include a high fever, sore red watery eyes, and a blotchy red brown rash, and it is particularly easy to catch in environments when in close contact with others.

Anyone with symptoms is being advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice.

Colin Cox is urging parents check that their children are vaccinated. Credit: ITV News

Parents can check their child's vaccine record by looking in their "red book", or asking their GP.

Colin Cox, Director of Public Health for Cumberland Council and interim Director of Public Health for Westmorland and Furness Council said: "The UK Health Security Agency is urging people to check that they and their families are up to date with their MMR vaccines, particularly before they travel this summer and before attending summer festivals where measles can spread more easily.

"Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious conditions, and the MMR vaccine provides safe and effective protection against all three.

"Getting vaccinated is important, as these conditions can spread easily amongst unvaccinated people and lead to serious problems including meningitis, hearing loss and problems during pregnancy."

In north west England, uptake of both doses of the vaccine by children aged under five-years-old was below 90% in more than half of the local authorities in the region and less than 80% in some areas.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a target set of 95% for uptake of the vaccine.

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