Cases of measles are at their highest level for the past 18 years. The only way to prevent measles outbreaks is to make sure there is good uptake of the MMR vaccine across all ages.

Experts believe the current rise in cases of measles is due to the high proportion of 10-16year-olds who are unprotected because they missed out on vaccination in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This is because there was widespread concern at the time around a now-disproved link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Measles is often associated with being a disease of the past and as a result people may be unaware that it is dangerous and can lead to complications and even death in severe cases.

Parents should therefore make sure their children are fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella with two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Parents of unvaccinated children, as well as older teenagers and young adults, who may have missed MMR vaccination, should be aware it is never too late to get vaccinated against measles and they should make an appointment with their GP to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

If a parent is unsure about whether they or their child has had two doses of the vaccine, they should speak to their GP who will have a record.

If parents would like further advice, please direct them to the NHS website: www.nhs.uk