TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

U.K. measles outbreak continues in Sussex

The number of measles cases confirmed in an outbreak in Sussex County, Great Britain, is rising and expected to continue to rise as the school year begins.

There have been 325 cases of the highly infectious illness confirmed in Sussex so far, but health officials suspect the actual total is much higher because not every case is identified through testing, according to TheArgus.co.uk.

Low uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is thought to be the main cause of the outbreak. Many residents of the county are not vaccinated or have only received one of the necessary two doses.

Health officials said that the number of cases will spike over the coming weeks as children return to schools and nurseries from their summer break.

The city of Brighton and Hove has been hardest hit during the outbreak, accounting for 192 total confirmed cases.

Dr. Tom Scanlon of Brighton and Hove warned that almost one quarter of the area's schoolchildren are not properly vaccinated and is urging parents to make sure their kids are fully protected.

"Around 4,200 five to 11-year-olds and about 4,600 secondary and sixth form college students are either unvaccinated or have had just one MMR vaccination," Scanlon said, TheArgus.co.uk reports. "This means 23 percent of the school population is not fully immunized. Measles can kill. I really urge parents to make sure their children are fully protected by having two MMR jabs."