WORCESTERSHIRE'S exceptionally low rates of measles are believed to be thanks to the county's high uptake of the MMR vaccine.

New statistics by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed that Worcestershire has no confirmed measles cases despite the UK experiencing a potential "outbreak" in the UK.

The low rate is believed to be because the county, compared to other regions, has a good uptake of the MMR1 jab.

Figures show that the county has a 93.7 per cent uptake of MMR1 by 24 months old compared to the 83.8 per cent for the West Midlands region.

An impressive 96.1 per cent of county five-year-olds have also received their first MMR dose, which is three per cent over the regional average, and 90.7 per cent have had both doses - the regional average being 83.6 per cent.

Dr Jonathan Leach OBE is a GP at Davenal House Surgery in Bromsgrove and is the NHS England Medical Director for Covid Vaccination.

He is also one of the lead GPs at vaccination centres across Worcestershire.

Dr Leach said: "It's great to see that Worcestershire patients are protecting their families and our wider community by getting the MMR vaccine when offered to them. 

"With measles cases on the rise, it's never been more important to get this vaccine, as the symptoms of measles can be extremely serious.

"If you or a member of your family is due for your MMR vaccine and haven't yet received it, speak to your local GP practice who can arrange an appointment for you."

This month the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) found that while the risk of a UK-wide measles epidemic was considered low, an outbreak of between 40,000 and 160,000 cases could occur in London alone because of the low uptake of the MMR vaccine.

A similar warning was issued by the UKHSA earlier this year following an outbreak in July.

Emma Booth, health protection consultant with UKHSA West Midlands, said: "Measles is a very infectious virus and can spread rapidly among communities, such as schools, if people have not been fully immunised.

"While most people will recover completely within a couple of weeks, the virus can cause very serious illness – sometimes, this can leave permanent disability, and it can even be fatal.

"We are therefore strongly advising that anyone not up to date with their MMR vaccine should get vaccinated as soon as possible. MMR is a highly effective and safe vaccine. 

"Children should receive two doses of MMR for maximum protection.

"The vaccine not only protects them but also limits the chances of the virus spreading more widely, for example, to children who are too young to have the vaccine and to adults who may be more vulnerable to the disease."