Health chiefs are calling on people in Leeds to get up-to-date with their MMR vaccines to ensure a measles-free Christmas.
Public Health England Yorkshire and the Humber are renewing the call for people to check they are up-to-date with two doses of MMR vaccine.
The call comes as cases of measles confirmed in Leeds rises to 28, just as people begin to gather for Christmas celebrations across the city which provide the ideal opportunity for measles to spread.
PHE has previously reported managing an outbreak of measles in Leeds alongside Leeds City Council and NHS partners, with cases confirmed since the beginning of October.
Almost all cases have been in children. Other parts of Yorkshire and the Humber are not currently affected by the outbreak.
Helen McAuslane, a consultant in Health Protection with PHE Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Measles is extremely infectious and Christmas is fast approaching and gatherings will be held where the disease can spread easily.
“It is really important that anyone who hasn’t had two doses of the MMR vaccine contacts their GP surgery to get up-to-date.
“If you’re unsure whether you or your children have had the vaccine, check your child’s Red Book or contact your GP surgery to find out.
“You do not need to seek additional vaccines if you and your children have had two MMR vaccines in the past.
“With ongoing outbreaks in other parts of Europe including Romania, Italy and Germany, we’re also warning that anyone travelling to these countries for the festive period is at particular high risk.
“If you’re planning to go to these countries, contact your GP to arrange an appointment for vaccination before you travel, if you’ve not received two MMR doses in the past.”
Because measles is so infectious, anyone with symptoms is also being advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice in the first instance to prevent the illness spreading further.
Helen added: “Members of the public should be vigilant for the symptoms of measles.
These include high fever; sore, red, watery eyes, coughing, aching and feeling generally unwell and a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.
“If you’re concerned that you or your child may have measles, please do not go to A&E or your GP surgery straight away.
“Instead telephone your GP or ring NHS 111 for advice.
If you think you have symptoms and your surgery is closed for the festive period, telephone NHS 111 for advice – do not go straight to A&E.
MEASLES - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant.
On occasions, it can also lead to serious complications, especially in those people who are particularly vulnerable or who have other health conditions.
It is possible for anyone at any age to get measles and the illness can be more severe in teenagers and adults than in young children.
To find out more information about measles, you can visit the nhs.uk website 24 hours a day.