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Measles cases remain high despite recent drop

The number of cases of measles in England in 2013 is the highest since 1994 despite a decline in numbers in May, according to latest figures.

Official statistics show there were 188 confirmed cases in May this year, down from 299 in April.

This brings the total cases so far in 2013 to 1,168, more than double the figure of 712 cases recorded over the same period last year.

Public Health England (PHE) said the drop in numbers recorded in May suggests the MMR catch-up programme may be having an impact, but that it is too early to confirm this.

As reported exclusively by Pulse yesterday, preliminary data shows around 110,000 children in the 10–16-years target cohort have been vaccinated as part of the national MMR catch-up campaign led by GPs.

ImmForm data from 1,276 practices (around 16%) suggests the unvaccinated population has fallen since the start of catch-up programme by 1.3% - equivalent to around 55,000 to 56,000 doses.

This means around 60,000 further 10-16-year-olds need to have their first MMR dose by September to reach the Government’s goal of having 95% of this age group protected by one dose by the time the autumn school term starts – suggesting PHE is about halfway to reaching that aim.

PHE said: ‘A detailed study on exactly who was unvaccinated, who has had one dose and who has had two doses is underway and is expected to be completed in the autumn.

‘Ninety-five percent of GP practices have ordered extra vaccine and more than 200,000 extra doses of MMR vaccine have been delivered. To ensure as many children are vaccinated as possible, the need for a school based programme is being actively considered for the next academic year.’

Public Health England - MMR Catch-up programme 2013

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