Confirmed cases of measles in North East tops 120

MMR jab
Image caption There were just 18 cases confirmed in the whole of 2011 in the North East

The number of confirmed cases of measles across the north-east of England has topped the 120 mark.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has already declared the outbreak as one of the worst in recent years.

Since September there have been 122 confirmed and 126 suspected cases, compared to just 18 confirmed in 2011.

The agency said 38% of all cases involved young people aged between 10 and 19 in the Stockton, Darlington and Middlesbrough areas.

Julia Waller, immunisation manager for the HPA in the North East, said: "Measles 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 this region.

"There is no treatment for measles, but it can be prevented by the MMR vaccine and two doses are required to ensure the best protection.

"If anyone is unsure about their immunisation status they should check with their GP."

The most common symptoms are fever, cough, sore eyes and a rash that develops three or four days after the onset of illness, starting with the face and head and spreading down the body.

Those who develop symptoms are advised to stay away from nursery, school or work for at least four days.

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