An increase in measles activity in England has been observed in recent months, mainly associated with several large ongoing outbreaks across Europe, in countries where MMR vaccine uptake has been low historically, according to a new report from Public Health England.
In England, 265 new measles infections were confirmed in the first quarter of 2018, compared to 149 in the period between October and December 2017.
In quarter one 2018 there has been a relative increase in confirmed measles cases among adults, with 42 per cent of confirmed cases in adults aged 20 years and above compared with 19 per cent in the previous quarter. The majority of confirmed cases (71%) in quarter one 2018 had not received measles-containing vaccine.
A total of 19 (8%) measles infections were associated with recent travel in this quarter. Many of these importations have been from Europe, but there have also been importations from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Djibouti, according to the report.
Separately, Wales reported 14 confirmed measles cases in quarter one 2018, all linked to an outbreak in Cardiff. Scotland reported one imported measles case and Northern Ireland reported no new cases.
A significant increase in mumps activity in England was also observed this quarter with 275 laboratory-confirmed mumps infections compared to 160 in the last quarter of 2017. However, this was in line with usual seasonal trends and similar to levels observed in quarter one 2017 (283 cases), the report states.
Mumps cases in quarter one 2018 predominantly occurred in young adults aged 15 to 24 years (136/275, 49%). Of the cases where vaccination status was known (33/136), 24 per cent were unvaccinated.
One new rubella infection was identified this quarter in England in a pregnant woman who was born outside of the UK.