PARENTS in South Tyneside are being urged to help keep South Tyneside free of measles as the number of cases continues to rise across the North East.
South Tyneside is clear of the disease, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency.
So far, there have been 104 confirmed cases of measles and 93 suspected cases in the region. This is an increase of 22 confirmed and 20 suspected incidents on the previous week.
While the borough hasn’t had any reported outbreaks of the highly infectious disease, health experts are still urging parents to get their children vaccinated.
Julia Waller, immunisation lead for the HPA in the North East, said: “Measles is potentially a very serious illness, which on rare occasions can be fatal. It is highly infectious, and unvaccinated children and adults who haven’t had it before are at risk when it is circulating, as it is now in the North East.
“Measles should not be taken lightly, as you can never tell who will go on to develop the more serious complications of pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
“This is why it’s important to remember that measles isn’t a ‘harmless’ childhood disease, and why we are urging parents to make sure that their children are fully immunised and have had both doses of the MMR vaccine.
“We aren’t yet seeing measles in South Tyneside but, as we are such a mobile population, the risk of coming into contact with measles has significantly grown.”
Stockton is the worst affected area with 28 cases, followed by Darlington with 27 and Middlesbrough with 23.
Sunderland and Northumberland have had two outbreaks each, while Gateshead and Hartlepool have had just one each.