Measles outbreaks across England

Public Health England is advising the public to ensure they have had 2 doses of MMR vaccine after outbreaks of measles are confirmed across England.

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: “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”