Since November, measles outbreaks have been declared in Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Surrey that are linked to large outbreaks in Europe, with Romania, Italy and Germany being the worst affected countries. All UK cases have been reported in children and adults who have not received two doses of the MMR vaccine.
Measles is highly infectious and can lead to serious complications, particularly in immuno-suppressed individuals and young infants. It is also more severe in pregnancy, and increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or preterm delivery.
Under-immunised communities, such as recent migrants and travellers, are at risk of catching measles in the UK. This risk is increased in those that travel to the affected countries, currently Romania, Italy and Germany.
- children should receive their two scheduled doses of MMR vaccine on time at the ages of 12 months and 3 years and 4 months.
- the MMR vaccine can be given from six months of age before travel to a high risk country. Children who receive an MMR dose before their first birthday still require two further doses to be given at the recommended times.
- patients over the age of three years and four months who do not have two recorded doses of MMR vaccine should be caught up opportunistically.
- there is no upper age limit for MMR vaccine and adults who are not protected should also be caught up.
- new entrants from abroad and newly registered patients should check their immunisation history.
- post-natal women should check their MMR status and will be offered any outstanding doses.
- all health professionals and reception staff should be fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella.
If you do not wish your child to be vaccinated, please inform the surgery so that this can be documented in their record to avoid being contacted further.