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MMR jab alert over measles outbreak

The largest outbreak of measles in the North East for almost 20 years has prompted health experts to launch an awareness campaign to get more parents to take their children for a vaccination.

There have been 99 cases reported in the region this year alone, but a further 100 are under investigation.

This is more than the total number of cases reported in 2008 and the largest number of cases reported in the region in recent years.

In an effort to prevent more cases and control the outbreak NHS North of Tyne, working on behalf of Newcastle Primary Care Trust, North Tyneside PCT and Northumberland Care Trust, has launched a public awareness campaign to urge parents to ensure that their children get the MMR vaccination.

Parents who are yet to get their children immunised will receive a letter in the next few weeks to encourage them to visit their local GP, and community venues will hand out more than 25,000 leaflets and posters to raise awareness.

Dr Meng Khaw, director of public health for North Tyneside PCT, said: "This measles outbreak is very alarming, especially as the majority of these cases could have been prevented as most were in children who were not fully protected with MMR."

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NHS North of Tyne