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Fears of potential measles epidemic as Hackney posts most cases in London

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 May 2013

A nurse handles a syringe at a medical centre. Picture: PA

A nurse handles a syringe at a medical centre. Picture: PA

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Fears of a potential measles epidemic are growing after Hackney had the highest number of cases in the capital.

Figures released by the government last week reveal that of 68 cases diagnosed in London between January and March, almost half were from the borough – three times more than any other part of the capital.

This represents more than a 900 per cent increase from the previous three months and public health bodies are now concerned about a generation of 10- to 16-year-olds in the borough who were never vaccinated against the disease.

Diane Abbott, shadow public health minister and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: “I made sure my son had his MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) jab.

“I tried to persuade people that approached me likewise. But public health is now Hackney Council’s responsibility. So I am calling on the mayor to have an emergency campaign to encourage Hackney mums to make sure their children have had the jab.”

Measles is a dangerous and infectious disease which can lead to serious complications.

More than 100 children have been hospitalised and more than 1,000 people infected after an outbreak in Wales.

Hackney Council’s public health team is working with Homerton University Hospital, Hackney Learning Trust, community health services, GPs and Public Health England to provide extra immunisation clinics for residents.

Parents are being urged to make sure their children have two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Dr Sohail Bhatti, interim director of public health for City and Hackney, said: “Measles is a potentially life-threatening disease which spreads rapidly between children.

“The only way to protect your children is to make sure they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine.

“Please check whether your children’s vaccinations are up to date, and if they are not, please contact your GP or visit one of Hackney’s drop-in clinics.”

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