Measles cases soar to two-decade high

More cases of measles were reported in England and Wales in 2012 than in any year since 1994, Health Protection Agency (HPA) data show.

Measles rash on a 10 year old boy's upper body (SPL)
Measles rash on a 10 year old boy's upper body (SPL)

A total of 2,016 confirmed cases of measles were reported to the HPA across England and Wales, more than a quarter of the total number of cases reported across all European Union countries up to the end of November 2012.

The UK, along with France, Italy, Spain and Romania, accounted for 87% of the total number of cases reported across the EU.

Persistent outbreaks of measles in Merseyside, Surrey and Sussex and in travelling communities across England and Wales contributed to the high total incidence in 2012, the HPA said. The north west of England was by far the worst affected area, with 865 cases reported.

Dr Mary Ramsay, HPA head of immunisation, said: 'Coverage of MMR is now at historically high levels but measles is highly infectious and can spread easily among communities that are poorly vaccinated.

'Parents should ensure their children are protected against measles, mumps and rubella with two doses of the MMR vaccine. Parents of unvaccinated children as well as older teenagers and adults who may have missed MMR vaccination, should make an appointment with their GP to get vaccinated.'

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