Outbreak News Today

England health officials advise on MMR vaccine before Europe travel as measles count continues to rise

Health officials in England continue to report additional measles cases in the country this year. Between 1 January 2018 and 18 June 2018 there have been 643 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England.

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Cases were reported in most areas with London (225), the South-East (137), West Midlands (82), South-West (79), and Yorkshire and Humberside (74) reporting the most cases.

Cases of measles also continue to rise across England in unvaccinated young adults.

This and the measles outbreak in Europe has prompted them to encourage young adults to make sure they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine before going on holiday to Europe where there are large outbreaks of measles.

While vaccine uptake levels in the UK in young children are currently very high, coverage levels dipped to a low of 80% in 2003. This means that there are significant numbers of unprotected teenagers and young adults who could catch measles both in England, particularly in environments of close mixing such as summer festivals and when they travel abroad for the summer holidays.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that to prevent outbreaks of disease, 95% of people need to have received the MMR vaccine.

The vaccine is available free to anyone who has not received both doses as a child. It protects against measles, mumps and rubella, all of which can be very serious diseases and are highly infectious.