MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Merseyside measles outbreak passes 200 cases

There have now been more than 200 measles cases confirmed in Merseyside, United Kingdom, in the largest outbreak in the area since 1988, according to the Health Protection Agency.

There are 210 confirmed cases of measles so far, with 92 cases under investigation. Thirty-nine of the cases have required hospital treatment. Approximately 50 percent of the cases occurred in children under the age of five, the BBC reports.

The outbreak is concentrated in Liverpool, which has seen 125 cases, and is the largest in the region since the MMR vaccine was introduced. There are also seven confirmed cases in Wirral, 22 in Sefton and 29 in Knowsley.

"It's obvious from these statistics that people who are not fully vaccinated are not just at risk themselves, but they pose an infection risk to others, such as defenseless babies and toddlers who are too young to be vaccinated," Roberto Vivancos, a consultant with the HPA, said, according to the BBC. "Measles is a very infectious illness that spreads rapidly amongst children and adults who are not protected by MMR vaccine."

More than 30 percent of the cases have been in people at or above the age of 15 years old.

"(Measles) is also a serious illness that can lead to serious complications," Vivancos said, according to the BBC. "On rare occasions, people die from measles. It should not be treated lightly, but it is an avoidable illness and we strongly advise parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated."