PARENTS on Wearside are being urged to get their children vaccinated against potentially deadly illnesses.
Health chiefs are calling for youngsters to be given primary immunisations against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), after there were outbreaks in other parts of the country.
Although there have been no reported cases of measles in the North East this year, there have been 18 cases of whooping cough up to March 2012, compared to 20 for the whole of 2011.
So far, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) is reporting 253 confirmed measles cases nationally this year, compared to 200 cases for the same period in 2011.
Two cases of mumps have also increased to March 2012 compared to 16 during 2011.
Dr Faisal Al Durrah, consultant in public health medicine for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said people should seek advice if they think their children need treatments.
He said: “We are urging parents not to be complacent and to ensure their children have had their full immunisations before attendance in their reception year.
“Whether you’re the parent of a young child, a teenager leaving home for university or a carer looking after an elderly relative, you should get accurate advice on the vaccinations that you need to stay healthy.
“It is never too late to immunise your child if you missed out in the past. Your GP or health visitor will be delighted to advise you.”
Julia Waller, immunisation lead for the HPA in the North East, said: “As we approach the time of year when many children are travelling on school trips and family holidays, we are again urging parents to protect their children against measles by ensuring they have been immunised with two doses of MMR.
“This is particularly important given the increase in cases in children and young adults over the last few months.
“We aren’t yet seeing the same rise in cases of measles in the North East as many other parts of the country are reporting.
“But, as we are such a mobile population, the risk of coming into contact with measles has significantly grown.”
For more information on vaccinations go to www.nhs.uk/Planners/vaccinations/Pages/Landing.aspx.