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Measles: Greater Manchester reports recent spike in confirmed cases

Doctors have urged people in Greater Manchester to make sure they and their children are vaccinated against measles after a sharp recent increase in cases.

Public Health England said there had been 32 confirmed cases across Greater Manchester so far this year.

At the end of January there had only been five confirmed cases.

“The majority of the cases are in unvaccinated children,” said Dr Kristina Poole, from Public Health England North West.

Experts have warned in recent years that a rise in the number of measles cases may be linked to the controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine used to immunise people against it.

In 2018 there were 144 cases in Greater Manchester, up from 127 in 2017.

The government’s chief medical advisor Prof Dame Sally Davies has insisted the MMR vaccine is safe.

She said uptake was “not good enough” and urged parents to ignore “social media fake news”.

Dr Poole said the MMR vaccine both protected individuals against the measles virus and also limited its spread throughout the community.

“MMR is a highly effective and safe vaccine,” she said.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of measles cases in Europe tripled between 2017 and 2018 to 82,596.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that in severe cases can lead to complications including blindness, pneumonia and infection and swelling of the brain.

The UK, which was declared free of the disease for the first time by the WHO in 2017, experienced small outbreaks last year.

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BBC News – Health

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