Measles cases in the UK have more than doubled in the UK compared to last year - and experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) fear the whole of Europe could be at risk of the rise in cases.

To the end of October, there were 956 cases of measles in the UK - up from the 374 recorded during the whole of 2010. In Europe, more than 26,000 cases have been reported - including nine deaths, representing a threefold increase since 2007.

France has seen more than 14,000 cases, with other countries experiencing an upsurge in measles including Spain, Romania and Uzbekistan.

Rebecca Martin, immunisation programme manager for WHO's Europe office in Copenhagen, said: "We are seeing a surge of cases much larger than we've seen in the past five or six years.

"Over the years, people who haven't been vaccinated are now giving the virus a big opportunity to spread."

However, there is some good news. Vaccination rates have hit a new peak, and now stand at 90 per cent of children aged two have received the vaccine. It is estimated a vaccination rate of 95 per cent would stop outbreaks.

Posted by Robert Mair on 5/12/2011