Public Health England has issued a travel warning to young adults to ensure they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine before going on holiday to Europe where there are currently large outbreaks of measles.
While MMR vaccine uptake levels in the UK childhood immunisation programme are currently very high, coverage levels dipped to a low of 80 per cent in 2003, meaning there are significant numbers of unprotected teenagers and young adults who are at risk of measles both in England, particularly in environments of close mixing such as summer festivals, and when they travel abroad for the summer holidays.
Parents have also been urged to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their young children.
Between 1 January 2018 and 2 July 2018, there were 738 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas, with London (262), the South-East (154), South-West (109), West Midlands (84) and Yorkshire and Humberside (76) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).
The majority of confirmed cases (71%) in the first quarter of 2018 reported no MMR vaccine coverage.
A total 8 per cent of measles infections were associated with recent travel in the first quarter of 2018, particularly in European countries where MMR vaccine uptake has been low historically.