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Measles outbreak in England: Total cases reach 465

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More than 70 per cent of these cases were reported from the West Midlands

With 118 new cases confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the total number of measles cases reported in England since 1 October 2023 has gone up to 465.

According to the latest data published by the agency, West Midlands continues to see a disproportionately high rate of infections, with a sharp rise in case numbers over the last six weeks, mainly driven by cases in Birmingham.

In England, there were 17 laboratory-confirmed measles cases in October, 42 in November, 161 in December, 240 in January 2024.

Five more cases were confirmed last week, according to the measles statistics updated by UKHSA on 8 February.

More than 70 per cent (329 of 465) of total confirmed cases were reported from the West Midlands, 13 per cent (62 of 465) from London, seven per cent (32 of 465) in Yorkshire and The Humber, and the remaining cases from other regions of England.

Children under the age of 10 were mostly affected, accounting for 66 per cent of the total cases, while 25 per cent of these cases were seen in young people and adults over the age of 15.

“The measles outbreak in the West Midlands continues to be a concern,” said Dr Vanessa Saliba, UKHSA Consultant Epidemiologist, and warned that “there is a real risk it will spread to other areas.”

With MMR vaccine uptake decreasing over the last decade, one out of 10 children starting school in England are at risk of getting measles, as Dr Saliba said.

“Parents should be aware that measles is a nasty illness for most children and sadly for some can be very serious and life changing, but it is completely preventable.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your children,” she said, urging parents to take up the offer as soon as possible to protect their children.

 

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