Measles is one of the the most infectious diseases around and cases in the south east of England are on the rise.
Last year, in the south east of England measles cases rocketed to 60 in comparison to four cases in 2015.
Experts are warning that Britain faces a measles epidemic because parents are failing to have their children immunised after health scares about the vaccine MMR.
The MMR vaccine has been around for over a decade, but concerns about side effects have dented confidence in the vaccination and reduced the take up to a dangerous level.
Scares have linked the vaccine to autism, bowel disorders, deafness, Crohn’s disease, arthritis and epilepsy.
Over the last five years the number of children being immunised has fallen from 92 per cent to 87 per cent.
A similar fall in the numbers of children being vaccinated led to an outbreak of measles in Ireland last year.
At least 95 per cent of children must be protected to keep the disease at bay, said Dr Mike Catchpole, director of the Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre at the Public Heath Laboratory in London. He warned: ‘We are now below the critical threshold at which point we run the risk of getting a large number of cases.’
The Department of Health is recommending that all parents go directly to their GPs and have their children vaccinated in order to prevent a measles outbreak. A spokesman said: ‘Every time there’s a health scare, parents withdraw their children from vaccination. But there is no evidence to show that the MMR jab is linked to autism and bowel disorders.