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Measles epidemic fears

PUBLISHED: 16:23 16 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:56 07 September 2010

WESTMINSTER health bosses fear a measles epidemic could be imminent, after a generation of children have missed out on jabs. It is estimated at least 30 per cent of youngsters in the borough have not received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

WESTMINSTER health bosses fear a measles epidemic could be imminent, after a generation of children have missed out on jabs.

It is estimated at least 30 per cent of youngsters in the borough have not received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Despite only 23 cases of measles reported in Westminster last year, doctors have warned that with hundreds of cases recorded in nearby boroughs the risk of an outbreak is still high.

Some experts have blamed the drop in toddlers receiving the MMR vaccine on a controversial research paper published by Dr Andrew Wakefield in 1998.

The study sparked a scare linking the MMR jab to autism, and after its publication rates of inoculation fell from 92 per cent to below 80 per cent.

Dr Adrian Brown, consultant in public health medicine at West-minster Primary Care Trust, is now calling on parents to make sure their children are vaccinated.

He said: "Measles can be dangerous and cause complications such as pneumonia and brain damage. Until 2006 there had been no deaths in England from the disease but sadly since then two people have died.


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