News story: Measles outbreaks across England

MoD_RSS

War Hero
Updated: Updated figures for the latest measles cases.

Latest update


Between 1 January 2018 and 31 October 2018, there have been 913 laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England. This steep rise in cases (when compared to 259 lab-confirmed measles cases in 2017), was associated with outbreaks linked to importations from Europe that have led to some limited spread in the community, particularly teenagers and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine when they were younger.

The measles outbreaks previously reported in different parts of the country are now under control, and we have seen a sharp decline in the number of measles cases reported.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said:


We will continue to see measles cases in unvaccinated individuals and are monitoring the situation carefully. People who have not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk.

We want to remind people that measles is not just a disease of young children, and most of the cases this year have been in people over the age of 15. Adults or parents who are unsure if they or their children have been fully vaccinated should check with their GP and make an appointment to receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine.

The UK achieved WHO measles elimination status last year, so the overall risk of measles to the UK population is low. However, due to ongoing measles outbreaks in Europe, we will continue to see cases in unimmunised individuals and limited onward spread can occur in communities with low MMR coverage and in age groups with very close mixing.
Previous updates

13 September 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 10 September 2018 there have been 876 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (305), the South-East (188), South-West (141), West Midlands (87) and Yorkshire and Humberside (84) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

29 August 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 23 August 2018 there have been 859 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (300), the South-East (178), South-West (142), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (83) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

20 August 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 13 August 2018 there have been 828 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (291), the South-East (169), South-West (138), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (80) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

6 August 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 6 August 2018 there have been 807 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (281), the South-East (166), South-West (139), West Midlands (84) and Yorkshire and Humberside (75) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

25 July 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 22 July 2018 there have been 781 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (272), the South-East (162), South-West (137), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (72) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

11 July 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 6 July 2018 there has been 757 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (268), the South-East (161), South-West (118), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (73) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

1 June 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 31 May 2018 there have been 587 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (213), the South-East (128), West Midlands (81), South-West (62), and Yorkshire and Humberside (53) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

11 May 2018


Between 1 January 2018 and 9 May 2018 there have been 440 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England, with London (164), the South-East (86), West Midlands (78), South-West (42) and West Yorkshire (37) reporting the most cases.

The increase in measles circulation is mainly associated with travel to and from Europe where there are large ongoing measles outbreaks.

Young people and adults aged 15 and over who missed out on MMR vaccine when they were younger and some under-vaccinated communities have been particularly affected.

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

Anyone who has not received 2 doses of MMR vaccine is at risk, but young people in environments with close mixing such as festivals are more at risk, as well as unvaccinated people travelling to Romania and Italy, where there are currently large outbreaks. Anyone planning to travel to Europe should check NaTHNaC travel health advice.

PHE local health protection teams are working closely with the NHS and local authorities to raise awareness with health professionals and local communities.

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

Anyone who is not sure if they are fully vaccinated should check with their GP practice who can advise them.

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. The majority of cases we are seeing are in teenagers and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine when they were children.

Anyone who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had 2 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 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at 3 years and 4 months of age.

We’d also encourage people to ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccine before travelling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks.

The UK recently achieved WHO measles elimination status and so the overall risk of measles to the UK population is low, however, we will continue to see cases in unimmunised individuals and limited onward spread can occur in communities with low MMR coverage and in age groups with very close mixing.

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