A MEASLES epidemic sweeping the county has hit more than a dozen children in Winsford.

As of Friday, November 28, there were 13 reported cases in the town, plus two in Northwich. And more were expected as health chiefs called for more than 10,000 un-immunised children in Cheshire to get the controversial MMR vaccine.

Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT identified 10,534 children county-wide who have not been immunised and will be visiting 177 primary schools and 33 secondary schools in a bid to halt the outbreak.

The mass vaccination programme will begin on Wednesday, December 3, and is expected to be completed by December 17.

There were total of 70 reported cases before the weekend, with only Sandbach (23 cases) and Middlewich (16) worse affected than Winsford.

Dr. Guy Hayhurst, a consultant with CECPCT, said: “We have written to parents to seek consent for their children to be vaccinated in school. We hope that by doing this we will halt the current outbreak in its tracks, or at least severely curtail it.

“Measles can be a very nasty illness with a potential for serious side effects. In rare cases it can kill. MMR is a safe and proven vaccine. I would urge all parents to give consent for their children to be protected now and not to leave things to chance.”

Traditional symptoms of measles include fever, cough, red and painful eyes, swollen glands, loss of appetite and a rash.