Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 09:56 UK

Further measles cases confirmed

MMR vaccine
Parents are urged to ensure their children get the MMR jab

An outbreak of measles in a Teesside town is on the increase, health bosses have said.

Latest test results found 11 confirmed cases and 63 further suspected cases in Hartlepool. All those affected were children and teenagers.

Since the first cases were reported in mid-April, GP surgeries in the town have immunised a further 100 children.

However, there have been warnings that hundreds more remain un-vaccinated and at risk of catching the disease.

There has also been one confirmed case in Middlesbrough and another in Stockton, but there is no evidence to suggest a link in either case to the Hartlepool outbreak.

The uptake rate for the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine across Teesside is about 80%, meaning that almost one in five local children are at risk of contracting the disease.

Measles is most infectious before the rash is visible so people can spread the virus before they realise they have it.

Peter Kelly, executive director of public health for Teesside, said: "I urge any parent whose child is not vaccinated with MMR to make an appointment at their GP practice as soon as possible.

"We are also approaching the time of the year when important exams are due to be taken and under no circumstance should any infectious child be sent to school."

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