BARNSLEY Council’s director of public health has urged residents to get protected from measles - following a rise in cases this year.

Julia Burrows, working alongside the UK Health Security Urgency, is asking people to get protected from the disease.

Most of the cases have been in London, although there have been cases picked up across the country, and some are linked to travel abroad.

Measles is highly contagious and can lead to complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain which require hospitalisation and on rare occasions can lead to long term disability or death.

Spending 15 minutes or more in direct contact with someone infected with measles is enough to catch the infection.

People whose immunity is compromised, pregnant women and unvaccinated children are at increased risk of severe disease.

Ms Burrows said: “The risk to the UK population remains low, but we’re supporting the UKSHA in asking you to be alert to the signs and symptoms of measles and to make sure you and your children have received two doses of the free, safe and effective MMR jab.

“If you have any symptoms that could be measles, please stay at home and phone your GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or accident and emergency. ( “This is because measles spreads very quickly and easily and so it is important to try and prevent the illness spreading further - especially to those who might be more vulnerable to infection.”