Measles outbreak hits vulnerable Britain

April 18, 2013

A measles outbreak has hit over 800 people in Britain, a country in which up to two million schoolchildren are believed to be unprotected due to a scare which linked the vaccine with autism, figures revealed Thursday.

The outbreak is centred on the south Wales town of Swansea but warn there is a serious risk that the virus could spread, particularly in London.

Between 1996 and 2012 an average of 550 people contracted the disease each year in Britain, according to (HPA)figures.

Last year, there were 2,030 reported cases, a near-20-year high, and this latest epidemic has already infected 808 people.

Health officials pointed the finger at disgraced doctor 's 1998 report, which appeared in prestigious medical journal The Lancet, that linked the joint measles, mumps and rubella jab (MMR) with autism.

Many parents decided not to have their children immunised as a result.

"Children are going to get measles, there is no question, because there is a great big group—probably of the order of approaching two million children—who are susceptible who have not been immunised." said doctor Helen Bedford, from the UCL Institute of Child Health.

She added that London was most at risk as almost half of children in the capital were not immunised at the peak of the scare.

The government urged parents to vaccinate their children.

"It is an example of how people forget the danger of diseases such as measles," Mark Walport, the government's chief scientific adviser, told the BBC.

"But it's just, I think, very of the huge importance of vaccination.

"It was and has been one of the major interventions in public health and it's absolutely vital that people vaccinate their children."

Measles is a highly contagious virus which can cause serious complications in around one in 15 cases, leading to deafness, and even death.

However, two doses of the offer almost guaranteed protection against the disease. Vaccination levels in Britain are now at a high of around 88 percent, according to Public Health England.

Wakefield is barred from practising in Britain after a panel ruled that he had "failed in his duties as a responsible consultant" in his published research.

The Lancet fully retracted the study and noted that some of the report had been falsified.

Explore further: Mayo Clinic physician: Mistaken fear of measles shot has 'devastating' effect

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The 'love hormone' may quiet tinnitus

September 23, 2016

(HealthDay)—People suffering from chronic ringing in the ears—called tinnitus—may find some relief by spraying the hormone oxytocin in their nose, a small initial study by Brazilian researchers suggests.

Bile acid uptake inhibitor prevents NASH / fatty liver in mice

September 21, 2016

Drugs that interfere with bile acid recycling can prevent several aspects of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of ...

New therapeutic target for Crohn's disease

September 20, 2016

Research from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) identifies a promising new target for future drugs to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study, published today in Cell Reports, also indicates ...

Mosquitoes, Zika and biotech regulation

September 19, 2016

In a new Policy Forum article in Science, NC State professor Jennifer Kuzma argues that federal authorities are missing an opportunity to revise outdated regulatory processes not fit for modern innovations in biotechnology, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.