Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 18:38 UK

Cases treble in measles outbreak

MMR vaccine
The HPA has called on parents to vaccinate their children

The number of measles cases has almost trebled in what was already the largest outbreak in the north-east of England for almost 20 years.

Health Protection Agency officials said 99 cases had been reported so far this year and more than 100 suspected cases were being investigated.

The number of confirmed cases reported when figures were last released in May was 37.

The agency said there were only 17 cases reported in 2008.

It is urging parents to ensure children have had two doses of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

More than 25,000 leaflets and posters have been sent to community buildings in the North Tyneside Primary Care Trust (PCT) area advising parents on the vaccine.

Dr Meng Khaw, director of public health for the 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.

"There is no treatment for measles but it can be prevented by the safe and highly effective MMR vaccine."

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