England

HPA MMR warning over measles rise in West Midlands

Parents and carers in the West Midlands must ensure their children are fully immunised against measles after a rise in reported cases, health experts say.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said 32 cases were reported in the West Midlands in the first six months of 2012.

This compares with a total of 40 cases in 2011, the agency said.

HPA regional epidemiologist, Dr Obaghe Edeghere, described the increase as "extremely concerning".

He added there had been a marked decrease in cases in the region in 2010 when there were 13 cases, according to the HPA.

National rise

Dr Edeghere said: "Although uptake of the MMR [vaccination] has improved in recent years, it is still too low to provide enough people with the protection necessary to stop larger outbreaks.

"Measles can be a very serious infection and parents should understand the risks associated with the infection, which in severe cases can result in death."

The number of cases in England and Wales had risen from 497 to 964 in the first six months of 2012, the HPA said.

The regional HPA unit covers the West Midlands, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Coventry and Warwickshire.

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