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Measles cases reach record high

The number of cases of measles in England and Wales reached a record high of 971 last year, new figures show.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the total, the highest since records began in 1995, compares with the 740 incidences seen in 2006.

But cases of mumps fell to 1,442 from 4,381 over the 12-month period, while rubella infections dropped from 32 to 27.

Dr Mary Ramsay, a consultant epidemiologist at the HPA, said: "This increase in measles cases is of concern.

"Although MMR coverage is starting to improve, we know that large numbers of children are still not fully protected.

"Therefore we expect to see more large outbreaks of measles in the future.

"The difficulty we as an agency and our health colleagues in the NHS face is predicting exactly when and where these outbreaks will occur.

"The only way to reduce the impact of such outbreaks is to ensure the uptake of the MMR vaccine increases, and that older children who have missed out come forward for vaccination.

"Our main focus is to remind people that they need two doses of the MMR vaccine to be fully protected.

"Anyone who has not had two doses could be at risk of this serious infection."


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