Measles cases decline across South Midlands

editorial image

Figures suggest the number of cases of measles reported across the region fell in June.

In the South Midlands and Hertfordshire area there were five cases in June compared to seven in May. This is mirrored by a decrease across England from 193 cases in May to 113 cases in June.

However, one of the reported cases was in Northamptonshire, whereas many neighbouring authorities did not witness any new cases in June.

In the region, there have been 23 cases so far this year, compared to seven the previous year.

Across the country The MMR catch-up programme, run by Public Health England, NHS England, the Department of Health, and local authorities aims to prevent measles outbreaks by giving MMR to as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds as possible.

Progress in the campaign has been monitored using data on the MMR status of children aged between 10 and 16 years old, gathered from around 2,000 general 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. Additionally, a slightly higher number have now completed the two dose course.

Dr Jenifer Smith, Centre Director, Public Health England South Midlands & Hertfordshire, said: “Whilst the decline in measles cases is good to see, unvaccinated children and adults remain at high risk of catching measles. There are still children and young adults in this area who are not fully protected because they have not had two doses of MMR. Our message remains the same, please contact your GP to get your children fully vaccinated.”

The next phase of the catch-up programme involves each Area Team planning activity appropriate to their area. Longer term plans for the elimination of the sustained transmission of measles will involve improving and sustaining the high coverage of MMR for younger children, and also implementing routine catch-up opportunities for older children. This aims to ensure a long lasting legacy for future children and ensure that the catch up programme is not just a short term fix.