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Measles cases rise in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 08:50 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:25 03 July 2010

THERE has been a slight increase in measles cases in Norfolk this year, as doctors warned of the risk of a measles epidemic in the region.

There were 11 confirmed cases of measles in Norfolk up until the end of October, compared with four last year.

THERE has been a slight increase in measles cases in Norfolk this year, as doctors warned of the risk of a measles epidemic in the region.

There were 11 confirmed cases of measles in Norfolk up until the end of October, compared with four last year.

Confirmed cases include only those which have been tested in a lab and confirmed as measles. The number of notifications, which includes cases simply diagnosed by a GP, is 27, the same as last year, though it is likely to be higher than last year's total by the end of the year.

Cases in Suffolk have actually fallen, with four confirmed cases compared with nine last year, and 21 notifications compared with 38 last year. Cases in Cambridgeshire have also fallen.

Across England and Wales there have been 1,051 confirmed cases of measles up to the end of October 2008, up from last year's total of 990 cases.

Most cases of confirmed measles are in children and young people, and cases have risen since uptake of the MMR vaccine fell as a result of concerns about a possible link with autism, which have since been shown to be unfounded.

Yarmouth and Waveney has lower rates of MMR vaccine uptake than the rest of Norfolk or Suffolk.

Figures for earlier this year show that 89.4pc of children had one dose by their fifth birthday, and 73.1pc the important second dose. In Norfolk, 90.5pc had the first dose and 79.1pc the second dose.

Hamid Mahgoub, a doctor with the Health Protection Agency, said: “We want both figures to be at 90 to 95pc to make sure we have got real good herd immunity."

Joe Kearney, regional director of the Health Protection Agency said: “We have seen fewer cases so far this year, which is good news. However there remains a real risk of a large measles epidemic.

“Relatively low MMR vaccine uptake over the past decade means there are now a large number of children who are not fully protected. This means that measles is spreading easily among unvaccinated children.”

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