PARENTS are being urged to get their children vaccinated following a sharp rise in measles cases.
The warning by health chiefs follows outbreaks of the childhood disease in south Cheshire and Liverpool, amid fears this could turn into an “epidemic” across the region.
Hugh Lamont of the Health Protection Agency North West has joined forces with Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) for more kids to be given their mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) shots.
Mr Lamont said: “Unless we get MMR uptake rates higher and reach a currently unprotected cohort of older children and teenagers, there could be an epidemic.
“Anyone up to the age of 18 can ask their GP for MMR vaccination.”
In 2007/08, 88% of two-year-olds in the PCT’s area of Ellesmere Port and Neston, Chester and parts of Vale Royal had their MMR vaccinations, compared to 85% nationally. The local uptake rate has been rising over the last few years.
A PCT spokeswoman said: “The number of measles cases is rising because at least one in five of our two-year olds and a sizeable minority of previous cohorts of two-year olds remain unprotected.
“Just this month there have been 22 diagnoses by GPs of measles in our neighbouring Sandbach and Middlewich areas, which have similar uptake rates to Western Cheshire.”
The PCT works with local schools, GP practices and parents to promote the MMR vaccine.
The spokeswoman said: “We strongly urge parents to take advantage of the protection being offered by the NHS vaccination campaign.”