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Measles outbreaks confirmed in five areas across UK

Parents urged to ensure children have received MMR if travelling to European countries with outbreaks

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 06 February 2018

A total of 51 measles cases had been confirmed by 30th January in the West Midlands, where there is still an ongoing outbreak of the disease.

As of 23rd January, in the latest outbreaks there had been 47 confirmed cases in the West Midlands, 35 confirmed cases in West Yorkshire, 29 confirmed cases in Cheshire and Liverpool, 22 confirmed cases in Surrey and seven confirmed cases in Greater Manchester.

This year alone there have been 36 cases of measles reported in England.

Children and young people who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine are at risk, and any travelling to countries in continental Europe, where there are currently large outbreaks of measles, are at particularly high risk, Public Health England has warned.

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. People who have recently travelled, or are planning to travel to Romania, Italy and Germany and have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk.

“This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years and four months of age. Children and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had two doses should contact their GP practice to catch-up.”

The UK recently achieved WHO measles elimination status and 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,” Ramsay added.

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