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New figures show that over 95 per cent of parents in Cumbria are taking the opportunity to protect their children from measles, mumps and rubella by taking them to have the MMR vaccine.
It is given in two doses to children, usually before they start school. Cumbria currently has a 95.5 per cent take up rate in the first dose in children under 2 years-old
Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious, common conditions that can have serious health complications, such as meningitis, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and deafness.
Measles can be a fatal illness and can cause a range of symptoms including:
* ear infections
* brain damage
Mumps can cause viral meningitis in children. It can also cause:
* temporary deafness
* inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
* pain and swelling in the testicles (in boys)
Rubella can cause:
* painful joints (arthritis)
* blood disorders
* swelling of the brain (encephalitis)
Several years ago there was a reduced uptake of the MMR vaccine which led to a drop in the population's immunity to the infections which the MMR jab protects against.
This, and increasing levels of personal travel, have resulted in an increase in cases of measles across the UK and Europe as well as mumps, particularly in teenagers and young adults.
Dr Nigel Calvert, NHS Cumbria’s Associate Director of Public Health, said: “It is very encouraging to see that parents across Cumbria are taking the opportunity to protect their children against measles, mumps and rubella.
“It is very important if your child is invited for a vaccination that you take it up and ensure that they have the full number of doses offered. For MMR, two doses are needed for your child to be fully immunised, the first one give at one year with the second dose usually given before starting school.”