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Vaccination

More than 230 cases of measles recorded in first three months of this year

Public health chiefs have urged any eligible people to be vaccinated against measles after 231 confirmed cases were recorded in England in the first quarter of 2019.

This figure is slightly lower compared to the same quarter in 2018 (265 cases), but still considerably higher than the same quarter in 2017 (17 cases).

Public Health England declared a national measles incident on the 2 May 2018, after outbreaks of measles infection in London, the South West, South East, and Yorkshire and the Humber. This came after a steep rise in cases in 2018 (966, compared with 259 in 2017).

In the final quarter of 2018, 94.9% of eligible children aged five years received the first dose of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. To achieve herd immunity for measles, at least 95% of the population need to be fully protected with two doses.

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: “Even one child missing their vaccine is one too many — if you are in any doubt about your child’s vaccination status, ask your GP as its never too late to get protected.

“There are measles outbreaks happening across Europe, so if you are planning to travel, make sure you check with your GP and catch-up [with your immunisations] if needed.”

Seema Kennedy, public health minister, said: “No child or young person should have to suffer from mumps, measles or rubella, and we must curb this recent increase in cases so we don’t see a return of horrible diseases of the past. By taking up the MMR vaccine parents and young people can prevent more cases, and I would urge everybody to do so.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206590

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