Measles cases slashed by GP-led MMR campaign

Measles cases fell by 96% following the GP-led MMR vaccination catch-up drive launched in April 2013, officials have said.

MMR: national uptake at 95% among 10 to 16-year-olds (Photo: UNP)
MMR: national uptake at 95% among 10 to 16-year-olds (Photo: UNP)

Public Health England (PHE) figures show there were just 24 confirmed cases of measles in England between October and December 2013, compared to record levels of 676 cases in the first three months of the year.

The 96.4% fall in cases followed the launch of a national catch-up programme, led by GP practices, to improve MMR vaccination uptake in adolescents, who were previously the most affected group.

A total of 95% of 10 to 16-year-olds had received at least one dose of MMR by August 2013, official figures show.

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE’s head of immunisation, said: ‘Measles is a potentially fatal, but entirely preventable, disease so we are delighted that measles cases have recently decreased in England.'

There was little difference in the number of mumps and rubella cases compared to the previous year, however.

Dr Ramsay added: ‘Although mumps has increased a little from the same quarter of last year the numbers remain much lower than the levels seen in 2004/5, when outbreaks were reported in several universities.

‘This probably reflects the fact that most young people now attending university were eligible for two doses of MMR as children.’

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