THE number of confirmed cases of measles in London is down, according to the latest figures from the Health Protection Agency.

There were 664 cases of the viral disease across the capital last year, but a pilot scheme from NHS London has helped tackle the problem.

After 38 and 39 cases in January and February respectively, March saw a fall by nearly 50% with just 19.

NHS Hounslow is one of 12 primary care trusts taking part in the scheme, which sees a targeted marketing campaign reminding parents the seriousness of measles and urging them to get their children immunised. There have been leaflet drops, phone box advertising as well as posters in bus shelters.

Dr Simon Tanner, director of public health at NHS London, said: "Reassuring parents that the MMR vaccine is safe and encouraging them to protect their children from measles is a major priority in London.

"Measles is highly contagious; a simple cough or sneeze is all it takes to spread the virus, so if your child is not immunised there is a high risk they will get measles. The MMR vaccine is free, effective and safe, and it's never too late to have your children immunised."

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