The number of cases of measles reported on Merseyside has now reached 210, making it the largest outbreak of the disease in the UK since the introduction of the MMR vaccine

Around half of the cases are in children under five, with 39 requiring hospital treatment leading to major concerns for the Health Protection Agency.

HPA consultant Dr Roberto Vivancos said: "Measles is a very infectious illness that spreads rapidly amongst children and adults who are not protected by MMR vaccine.

"It is also a serious illness that can lead to serious complications. On rare occasions, people die from measles.

"It should not be treated lightly, but it is an avoidable illness and we strongly advise parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated."

The outbreak has concentrated on central Liverpool where there are 125 confirmed cases though the occurances of the disease have spread into the Wirral and the wider Cheshire area.

An NHS spokesman has said they are investigating the cause of the outbreak.

Posted 03/05/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com