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Families warned over measles spread

Families heading out on holiday over Easter have been warned to make sure their children are vaccinated against measles.

Following an outbreak of the illness in mainland Europe, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has issued advice to make sure children are protected against the illness.

An HPA spokeswoman said that the World Health Organisation has reported an increased number of measles cases in several countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and France this year.

France had more than 1,500 cases of measles in 2009, more than 4,500 cases last year and almost 1,000 in January alone this year.

An outbreak was recently reported in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as cases linked to a large outbreak of the illness in Bulgaria last year.

The spokeswoman explained that travel is an important factor in how measles is spread internationally, which is why HPA units have contacted schools and health professionals in their local area.

"The HPA is issuing advice to schools and health professionals on measles and recommends that children are fully immunised with two doses of MMR before travelling to Europe for holidays," she said.

The Travel Clinic said the measles virus was causing "huge problems this year".

It said in a statement: "Two MMR vaccine doses are needed to provide long-lasting protection for measles.

"Adults who have only received one dose as a child, or who missed out on MMR, may want to think about getting vaccine now to protect both themselves, and babies under a year old who are also at greatest risk of serious consequences following measles but are too young to receive vaccine themselves."

Copyright © Press Association 2011


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"Are we also vaccinating babies under a year if they are travelling and may miss the all important date at a year old?" - K Tham, London