PHE is particularly concerned about families and students who are likely to travel to Europe as the summer approaches, which is when cases of measles rose in the UK last year. Experts warn that measles is not a trivial disease. It can kill those with weak immune systems, while complications can include meningitis, encephalitis and eye damage.
The latest report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows 1,548 cases of the highly infectious disease in April. The numbers continued to increase compared with the previous two months and were highest in France, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Germany.
However, misinformation regarding vaccines has led many to opt out of vaccinating their children, which is causing these illnesses to come back at alarming rates. This legislation will help push back at that misinformation and provide scientific evidence on why everyone should be vaccinated.
There were 231 cases of measles in England in the first three months of the year, says PHE. It is calling on parents to make sure babies are taken for their first MMR jab, which is usually around their first birthday, and the second dose after the age of three, before starting school.
Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. But as of January there were 880 cases in the country, the highest number since 1994, according to the CDC. That includes multiple cases in the Kansas City area, which faced outbreaks in 2018.
Teenagers should be sure they were vaccinated and get another shot if there is doubt. People born between 1998 and 2004 may have missed one or both shots during the alarm caused by a paper published by gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield in the Lancet, which suggested a now discredited link between MMR and autism.
Read more Measles can kill and it is incredibly easy to catch, especially if you are not vaccinated. Even one child missing their vaccine is one too many – if you are in any doubt about your childs vaccination status, ask your GP, as its never too late to get protected, said Dr Mary Ramsay, PHEs head of immunisation.
A CDC analysis of 2017 data showed that 1.3 percent of U.S. children under the age of 2 hadnt received any recommended vaccinations. Thats more than quadruple the rate of .3 percent from when the same data was compiled in 2001.
There are measles outbreaks happening across Europe, so if you are planning to travel, make sure you check with your GP and catch up if needed.
Over 30 years ago we introduced the MMR vaccine, and since then our world-leading vaccination programme is estimated to have prevented 1.8m painful and potentially fatal cases of measles, said the public health minister, Seema Kennedy. The vaccine was an enormous catapult for improving the health of children and young people, and still is. No child or young person should have to suffer from mumps, measles or rubella, and we must curb this recent increase in cases so we dont see a return of horrible diseases of the past.
England has not escaped the global increase in measles cases, said Prof Helen Bedford of the Great Ormond Street institute of child health at UCL. Luckily, we have ready access to a free, highly effective and safe means of stopping ongoing outbreaks in their tracks: the MMR vaccine. Most toddlers have had their MMR vaccine, but many people, particularly teenagers and young adults, in whom the disease is often more serious, have been left unimmunised.
The MMR vaccine is given on the NHS to babies, usually within a month of their first birthday. A second injection of the vaccine is given before starting school, usually at three years and four months.
Public Health England urges parents to vaccinate their children against measles
If you are unvaccinated or in doubt about whether you are protected, contact your GP practice. Vaccination only takes a few minutes but will protect you from a nasty disease which could result in life-changing complications or even death. One dose of vaccine is good, but two are better for best protection.
The appeal comes on the same day new figures revealed there had been 231 confirmed cases of measles and 795 mumps cases in the first three months of 2019.
The Public Health England (PHE) data showed that while measles cases were lower than the 265 during the same period last year, they had more than doubled compared to the 97 reported between October and December.
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Mumps cases nearly tripled to 795 compared to the 275 during the same period last year, with no new cases of rubella reported.
PHE has urged parents to make sure their children receive the MMR vaccine when offered it or to take it up now if they missed it.
Head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay warned that with measles outbreaks across parts of Europe families should make sure they are vaccinated before they travel.
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She added: "Measles can kill and it is incredibly easy to catch, especially if you are not vaccinated.
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"Even one child missing their vaccine is one too many – if you are in any doubt about your childs vaccination status, ask your GP as its never too late to get protected.
"There are measles outbreaks happening across Europe so if you are planning to travel, make sure you check with your GP and catch-up if needed."
Professor Helen Bedford, spokesperson for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said small children arent the only ones at risk and many teenagers and older people may be at risk after missing vaccines in the past.
There have been 3,789 cases of measles across the continent during the first three months of this year according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The highest numbers have been in Romania, France, Poland and Lithuania, its latest data from May 10 revealed.
Vaccination only takes a few minutes but will protect you from a nasty disease which could result in life changing complications or even death. One dose of vaccine is good but two are better for best protection.
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PHE warned that because measles is highly infectious, anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine is at risk.
Unvaccinated people travelling to countries where there have been large outbreaks of measles are particularly at risk, it added.
The public health agency said that 94.9% of eligible children aged five received their first dose of MMR in the final quarter of 2018, with coverage of the second doses at 87.4% for children aged five.
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One dose of the MMR vaccine is about 90-95% effective at preventing measles, rising to around 99% after the second.
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Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy said: "Over 30 years ago we introduced the MMR vaccine and since then our world-leading vaccination programme is estimated to have prevented 1.8 million painful and potentially fatal cases of measles.
"No child or young person should have to suffer from mumps, measles or rubella, and we must curb this recent increase in cases so we dont see a return of horrible diseases of the past.
"By taking up the MMR vaccine parents and young people can prevent more cases and I would urge everybody to do so."
The MMR vaccine is given on the NHS as a single injection to babies as part of their routine vaccination schedule, usually within a month of their first birthday. A second injection of the vaccine is given before starting school, usually at three years and four months.
The vaccine is also available to all adults and children who are not up to date with their two doses.