BURNLEY parents are being urged to have their children vaccinated against measles to prevent an outbreak of the illness.
The warning comes following a large outbreak in Merseyside where there are 260 confirmed cases.
Health bosses said they are concerned for the safety and long-term health of children under 16 who have not had the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination and stressed it is not too late to get protected.
Dr Ken Lamden from the Cumbria and Lancashire Health Protection Unit on behalf of the Lancashire Measles Outbreak Prevention group said: “Measles is highly infectious so we must all do everything possible to prevent the spread of it, particularly with an outbreak on our doorstep.
“The risk of an increase in cases in Lancashire is high, and the MMR vaccination is the only way to prevent measles. If parents haven’t arranged for their children to be vaccinated – it’s not too late to have the jab”.
Symptoms of measles, which can kill in the worst cases, include fever, cough, soreness of the eyes and a rash which spreads rapidly over the body.
Serious complications affect one in 15 children and include chest infections, fits, swelling of the brain and brain damage.
Health experts have written to schools and GPs in Burnley and across the county to ask for their help in encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated.
Dr Lamden added: “There is a high risk of a measles outbreak on our doorstep because of the outbreak in Merseyside. It is very important that parents in Lancashire don’t hesitate – and take steps to make sure their children are vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. When children have received the MMR vaccine, it not only protects them from measles, mumps and rubella, but because they are vaccinated, it protects others too. The more children who have the MMR vaccine, the better for everyone”