Map shows comeback of ancient disease as parents urged to take kids for jab

Parents are being urged to ensure that their children receive the MMR vaccine after a surge in cases of an “almost entirely preventable” disease in parts of Britain – with northern Lincolnshire behind target for uptake of the jab.

A total of 1,603 suspected cases of measles in England and Wales were reported last year – more than double the 735 cases in 2022 and more than quadruple the 360 suspected cases reported in 2021. And while there were only a few reported cases in North and North East Lincolnshire, doctors are warning people to be vigilant after “pockets of outbreaks” were seen elsewhere in the country.

Nationally., cases have continued to surge into the new year, with 64 suspected cases in the first week of January. In recent weeks, the West Midlands, and Birmingham in particular, has been hit hardest.


The UK Health Security Agency says cases are “rising every day in the West Midlands”. The most recent data shows that 27 of 64 cases reported to the UKHSA so far this month were traced to the area. Unvaccinated children who come into contact with measles are being advised to stay at home for 21 days.

These figures show the number of statutory notices that GPs are required to send to the UKHSA, alerting health authorities to outbreaks of certain infectious diseases, such as measles. You can view the statistics for our area, and how they compare to those elsewhere in the country, on our interactive map.

For years, cases of measles have been so rare that many clinicians may have never come across it before. Now, amid rising cases, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has issued national guidance on the treatment of measles for the first time in decades. A poster has also been produced advising healthcare professionals to “think measles” when treating children.

Dr Ronny Cheung, officer for health services at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), warned that measles “at best will cause children great discomfort and at worst deaths”. However, the virus is “almost entirely preventable” with the MMR vaccine.

He said: “We have seen pockets of outbreaks over the country in the last year or so – there have been outbreaks in Wales and London – essentially it’s due to the fact that vaccination rates for the measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine have come down and it is the lowest it has been for more than 10 years. In a nutshell, it is about vaccination rates.”

The rise in cases has been blamed on vaccine hesitancy, with uptake of the MMR vaccine – which protects against measles, as well as mumps and rubella – below the 95 per cent target in England. In North East Lincolnshire, 93.4 per cent of children received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine by the age of five in 2022-23, ahead of the national average of 92.5 per cent.

The proportion of children receiving two doses in North East Lincs was 91.6 per cent. In North Lincolnshire, there was an uptake of 88.9 per cent, with 85.5 per cent of children receiving two doses.

The latest local authority area figures show that in Birmingham, the area with the most suspected cases of measles, only 89.4 per cent of children had received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine by the age of five in 2021-22, well below the national average. In Northumberland, which had the highest MMR vaccine compliance rate in England (97.9 per cent), there were just five suspected cases of measles last year.

An infection usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth. Parents and guardians should ask for an urgent GP appointment of get help from NHS 111 if they:

  • Think someone has measles.
  • Have been in close contact with someone who has measles and have not had measles before, or have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine.
  • Are pregnant and have been in close contact with someone who has measles.
  • Have a weakened immune system and think they have measles or have been in close contact with someone with measles.

Measles has been infecting humans for at least 800 years and in the 1940s the disease killed around 500 people a year in England and Wales. Better medical care, followed by vaccinations, began to drive down the disease, especially after the introduction of the MMR jab in the 1980s.

However, In 2019, the UK lost its “measles free” status due to the resurgence of the disease. More information about symptoms and treatments can be found on the NHS measles advice page.

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Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe

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