PARENTS are being urged to ensure their children are protected against measles before the new school term starts.
There were only six reported cases in Oxfordshire last year and just one so far this year.
However, there has been a recent rise in cases nationally, which has prompted an awareness campaign and catch-up programme to have youngsters vaccinated.
Children who are not immunised or only partially immunised are at increased risk of exposure to the measles virus during the summer because of the large numbers of people moving around the country on their holidays.
This could mean that the virus could be picked up and then passed on when youngsters go back to school.
Children get the best protection by receiving two doses of the combined MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, which can be obtained from GP practices.
According to Oxfordshire County Council, more than 93 per cent of five-year-olds in Oxfordshire have received both jabs and more than 95 per cent of two-year-olds have had the first dose. Posters highlighting the issue are to be put up in GP surgeries, leisure centres, libraries and children’s centres and there will be advertising on buses.
Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles, cabinet member for public health, said: “We want to make sure that children have the best protection possible and the best way to do this is to have both doses of the MMR vaccination.
“It’s a good idea to have your child fully immunised before they go back to school to help stop others potentially catching measles.”
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that is easily passed between people. It is unpleasant and can lead to serious complications such as ear and chest infections, fits, diarrhoea and even brain damage. Symptoms can include fever, cough, red eyes and a blocked nose. A blotchy rash appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body over several days.