MMR push as measles outbreaks prompt concern

Measles outbreaks across England have led Public Health England (PHE) to raise awareness of the importance of the MMR vaccine.

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.

PHE says 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.

PHE maintains that anyone who has not received two doses of the 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, it advises.

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

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: "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."

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