Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 09:25 UK

Cases double in measles outbreak

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

The number of measles cases in a Teesside town is continuing to rise, with health officials warning the worst outbreak for 20 years may get worse.

On May 18, the number of confirmed cases in Hartlepool was 22, with a further 103 being investigated.

Confirmed cases have now risen to 46, with 84 more suspected infections.

Peter Kelly, executive director of public health for Teesside, said the outbreak was not yet under control and urged parents to immunise children.

Last month a number of emergency clinics were set up in the town in an effort to boost the number of children given the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) jab.

But Mr Kelly said attendance to some had been "disappointing".

The uptake of the (MMR) vaccine in the area is 82%, meaning almost one in five children is at risk.

Mr Kelly said: "Unfortunately the numbers are increasing and we are still getting new cases and we are expecting this to continue for a while yet.

"At the start of the outbreak we wrote to every parent via schools and nurseries, urging them to see their GP as soon as possible.

"We have also run special clinics, but we have had a mixed response to those."

Mr Kelly said a search was ongoing for unvaccinated children and a campaign was being launched to vaccinate primary school pupils.

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