Public Health England is urging the public to ensure they have had two doses of MMR vaccine after outbreaks of measles are confirmed across England.
Between January 1 and October 31 this year there were 913 laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England, marking a “steep rise” from the 259 reported in 2017.
The rise is because of 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, officials said.
“We will continue to see measles cases in unvaccinated individuals and are monitoring the situation carefully. People who have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk,” commented Dr Mary Ramsay, head of Immunisation at PHE.
“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.”
Children and young people who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine are at greater risk from contracting the highly infectious viral illness that, in some cases, can lead to serious complications, such as deafness, pneumonia and blindness.
Adults who are unsure if they or their children have been fully vaccinated should check with their GP and make an appointment to receive two doses of MMR vaccine, Dr Ramsay stressed.