Measles cases in England fall 40%

Cases of measles in England fell by more than 40% in June, according to Public Health England figures.

'Best thing parents can do, if children not had two doses of MMR, is to make appointment with GP.' Credit: UNP
'Best thing parents can do, if children not had two doses of MMR, is to make appointment with GP.' Credit: UNP

There were 113 confirmed cases in June, compared with 193 in May and 299 in April. The fall follows the nationwide roll-out of the MMR catch-up programme, jointly run by Public Health England, the DH and NHS England.

Progress was monitored using data on the MMR status of children aged between 10 and 16 years old, gathered from around 2,000 practices in July 2013.

When compared with similar aged children in 2012, the numbers point to almost 60,000 previously unvaccinated children having now had one dose in England. A slightly higher number have now completed the two-dose course.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: 'It is still too early to be confident that the drop in cases has come from the campaign but we are making good progress towards the 95% target. Nevertheless, we must still continue with all of our efforts to identify and vaccinate any unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children and young people.'

The next phase of the catch-up programme involves each local area team planning additional activities appropriate to their circumstances. These plans will be based on local intelligence on MMR coverage in their communities, with interventions based on an assessment of their likely effectiveness.

Professor David Salisbury, DH immunisation director, said: 'These figures are encouraging, but the best thing that parents can do, if their children have not had two doses of MMR, is to make an appointment with the GP before their children return back to school or college.' 

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