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PHE issues new measles warning as number of cases increases

Public Health England has confirmed 122 cases of the measles in five areas across England.

As of 9 January, PHE said there have been 34 cases in West Yorkshire, 29 cases in Cheshire and Liverpool, 32 cases in the West Midlands, 20 cases in Surrey and 7 cases in Greater Manchester. 

PHE are urging people to check with their GP if they are not fully vaccinated with MMR or are unsure.

This comes after PHE issued a similar warning last month when there were 91 confirmed cases in England.

The World Health Organisation recently declared the UK free of the measles virus but due to recent outbreaks in European countries including Germany, Italy and Romania, PHE said outbreaks would still occure in people who fail to be vaccinated.

PHE is looking to raise awareness of the outbreaks of the virus in England and in Europe, in collaboration with health professionals and local communities.

It has also devised a poster for patient’s use that can be posted in GP practices receptions.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said the outbreaks are ‘linked to ongoing large outbreaks in Europe’.

PHE has warned that unvaccinated people travelling to Romania and Italy are particularly at risk. 

Dr Ramsay said: ‘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.’

She added: ‘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.’

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