The United Kingdom is concerned about the further spread of measles, as the country has declared a national health incident. U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chief executive Jenny Harries announced a surge in measles cases over the last few months, urging parents across the country to vaccinate their children against the illness. “This is a call right across the country for all parents to check the vaccination rates of their children,” Harries said in an interview with BBC Radio 4. MEASLES OUTBREAKS IN US, UK HAVE HEALTH AGENCIES ON HIGH ALERT: ‘BE VIGILANT’ A one dose bottle of meals, mumps and rubella virus vaccine, made by MERCK, is held up at the Salt Lake County Health Department in Salt Lake City. (George Frey/Getty Images)Officials are pointing to decreased rates of uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine over the last decade, with only 85% of children fully inoculated.”We are well under the recommended coverage for MMR vaccination,” Harries continued. “It’s clearly not where we want the vaccination program to be. We want it to be 95%.” The U.K. is currently experiencing a measles outbreak, with more than 1,600 people in England and Wales contracting the highly contagious disease in 2023 — up from 735 in 2022 and 360 in 2021, according to reports.HEALTH OFFICIALS WARN OF POSSIBLE MEASLES EXPOSURE AT DULLES, RONALD REAGAN AIRPORTS”Predictably, we’re seeing that swing more to other – particularly inner-city – areas where we know vaccination rates are low, and we know large numbers of children will be congregating together,” Davies said. A photo shows the skin of a patient afflicted with measles. (iStock)The UKHSA released data this week confirming 216 cases of the disease in the West Midlands region since last October, with an additional 103 likely cases. Approximately 80% of the reported cases were traced to Birmingham and an additional 10% to Coventry. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe highly contagious disease can be serious and even fatal for young children.In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared measles “eliminated” in the U.S., meaning there were no cases for at least 12 months. The WHO could be forced to rescind that designation if outbreaks continue for more than a year.Fox News Digital’s Melissa Rudy contributed to this report.