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Shocking Rise in Measles Cases as Vaccination Levels Drop

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Figures have revealed that more than 330 cases of measles were reported across England and Wales within the first 3 months of this year, almost as many as the whole of last year. At the same time it has been revealed that MMR vaccines are down.

Data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) confirms that 334 cases of measles were reported in England and Wales by the end of April compared to 33 cases in the same period last year. In comparison, only 374 cases were reported throughout the whole of 2010.

Brent, in London, has the lowest immunisation rates in the whole country with only 32% of children having both of the required immunisations by their 5th birthday. London boroughs; Hackney, Haringey and Barking all followed with less than 40% of children being vaccinated. Barnsley, Yorkshire, has the highest immunisation rates with 91.5% of five year olds having had both vaccinations.

In contrast to the rates of MMR vaccination, immunisation rates for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio are consistently over 90%, prompting speculation that the Andrew Wakefield controversy over the safety of the MMR vaccine may be the cause of such low take up rates. This is despite government assurances that the vaccine is safe, and encouragement from health professionals to all parents that they ensure their children receive the jab.

Despite the surprisingly high number of cases of measles reported this year, however, the UK still remains one of the lowest incidence rates throughout Europe. France has revealed that 2134 cases of measles was reported in the same period at the beginning of the year.

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