HEALTH officials have reported an encouraging start to the year in Bolton with few cases of measles recorded so far.

But health experts are warning that parents still need to make sure their children have had both the MMR jab and the booster to prevent another outbreak.

In 2012, Bolton had 80 cases of measles, compared to just one in 2011.

Since January 1 there have been three cases in Bolton.

In 2012, there were 181 measles cases in Greater Manchester, 45 per cent of them in Bolton.

The majority were in the 12 to 17 age range, which health experts blame on a drop in the MMR vaccine uptake after controversial research was published claiming to link the jab with developing autism.

An outbreak in the borough late last year led to a huge vaccination programme, with health protection specialists working with school nurses to vaccinate children in schools who had not had the injections. More than 500 children have been immunised since the outbreak in November.

The outbreak, which was first detected in Wigan and then moved to other areas including Bolton, has returned to Wigan, where there have been clusters of infections over the past few weeks.

Health protection specialist Graham Munslow said cases could easily return to Bolton and people should make sure their children’s immunisations are up to date.

He said: “We are not being complacent. It looks as though the cases have started to reduce, but we would still recommend that anyone who hasn’t had the two MMRs should get them done.

“Don’t be complacent — an outbreak can come back.”

Anyone who thinks they, or their child, may not have had both MMR injections can contact their GP to check their records.