The number of measles cases diagnosed this year has already overtaken the number reported during 2010. In the first three months of 2011, 334 cases were reported. In the same period of 2010, there were only 30.
Experts have suggested the increase may be linked to a rise in cases of measles in Europe and the US. The disease has been particularly prevalent in France, which has reported nearly 5,000 diagnoses. Inoculations against measles fell dramatically in the 1990s after false warnings about the vaccine, which led to fewer children being vaccinated against the potentially fatal disease.
“We are again reminding parents and young adults of the importance of immunisation,” explained Dr Mary Ramsay from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
The immunisation involves a first dose at around 2 years and a second at the age of 5. Currently it is estimated that around 85% of children have had both doses of the vaccination.