PEOPLE are being urged to ensure they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine following an outbreak of measles in the South West.

Details from Public Health England (PHE) revealed that between January 1 2018 and May 9 2018, there have been 440 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England.

The South West is in the top five regions for the highest number of cases, with 42 recorded.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious complications and can be fatal in rare cases.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: “The measles outbreaks we are currently seeing in England are linked to ongoing large outbreaks in Europe.

Anyone who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had two doses should contact their GP practice to catch-up.

“This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years and four months of age."

Dr Ramsey added that the overall risk of measles to the UK population is low, but cases will continue to occur in unimmunised individuals.

Initials symptoms can include a runny nose, watery eyes and swollen eyelids, followed by greyish-white spots in the mouth and a rash which can appear two to four days later. For most people, the illness lasts around seven to ten days.

The MMR vaccine is available to all adults and children who are not up to date with their two doses.