KIRKLEES has more children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella than anywhere else in Yorkshire.

The area’s high uptake of MMR jabs was revealed after the launch of a Government campaign to encourage more parents to immunise their children against the three diseases.

There has been a large rise in the number of measles cases nationally over the past decade and medical experts fear there could be an epidemic soon if children aged up to 18 are not vaccinated.

The Department of Health fears that between 30,000 and 100,000 cases of measles could break out in the country if an epidemic hit.

It has given local health trusts £30,000 each to campaign to get every child under 18 vaccinated with MMR.

In Kirklees, there have only been seven confirmed cases of measles between April 2007 and April this year. It has one of the best records for parents accepting MMR jabs for their children.

Jane O’Donnell, assistant director of public health at NHS Kirklees, said: “NHS Kirklees had the best uptake for the MMR vaccine out of all the primary care trusts in Yorkshire, with 88.5% of babies being immunised before their second birthday.”

She said the Kirklees PCT community immunisation team has worked hard over the past six months to identify the children who have not had their vaccines.

Those families have been invited to attend a clinic. Poster campaigns and mail shots have also been conducted in areas that have particularly low take-up rates for MMR.

However, Ms O’Donnell said they would be using the Government cash to further their efforts.

“There are still a number of babies, children and young people out there who have never been immunised or have only had one dose of the MMR vaccine.

“Parents who have not had their children immunised with the MMR vaccine should do so now. Details on where to get vaccinated are available from GP surgeries and child health services departments.”

The launch of the campaign saw the Department of Health reveal that during 2006 and 2007, there were 1,726 cases of measles in England Wales – more than in the past decade.

From 1996 to 2005, there were just 1,621 cases and no deaths during that period. There has been one death from measles in 2006 and another this year.

It is thought that about three million children aged 18 months to 18 years have not had their first or second MMR jabs.

This lack of uptake for MMR jabs has been blamed on the 1998 scare, when the jab was alleged to have been linked to children developing autism.