NHS Merseyside 'sorry' over measles letter to bereaved parents

The NHS has apologised after parents of dead children on Merseyside were sent letters urging them to be vaccinated against measles.

NHS Merseyside would not confirm how many bereaved families received the letter, which was sent to more than 7,000 families in the region.

The letter stressed the importance of the MMR vaccine following a recent measles outbreak on Merseyside.

An NHS Merseyside spokesman said: "An investigation is being carried out".

There have been 48 confirmed cases of measles in Merseyside since an outbreak in February. The MMR vaccine is designed to provide protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

'Serious effects'

The spokesman added: "We would like express our sincere apologies for the distress or concern it has caused.

"Our aim in sending these letters was to ensure that as many children and young people as possible in St Helens, Halton and Knowsley are protected against the serious effects of measles, and we would encourage parents to ensure their children are up to date with their vaccinations."

The most common symptoms of measles are fever, cough, sore eyes and a rash that develops over three to four days, beginning with the face and head and spreading down the body.

People with symptoms are advised to stay away from school, nursery or work until four days have elapsed after the development of a rash.

They are also asked to avoid contact with pregnant women and to telephone their GP for advice before attending the surgery.

Liverpool Primary Care Trust (PCT) has set up a telephone helpline for information about measles on 0151 296 7565.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites