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Measles in the United Kingdom (Update)

14 May 2013

Wales - Public Health officials are concerned at the high number of 10-18-year-olds who remain unvaccinated against measles across Wales. Vaccination coverage is particularly poor in the Gwent area where more than 10 000 young people are not fully immunised.

The outbreak is ongoing with 22 new cases reported in the worst affected area of Swansea since 2 May 2013, and 32 cases reported in other parts of Wales. A total of 1061 cases have been reported in the Swansea area since the beginning of November 2012.

Pembrokeshire in the southwest of Wales has reported 7 new measles cases in the Hywel Dda area in the last 6 days, bringing the total number of cases in the area to 81 in 2013.

Of particular concern is the upcoming event, the Urdd National Eisteddfod taking place in Boncath, Pembrokeshire between 27 May - 1 June (2013). This event is one of the largest youth festivals to be held in Europe and normally attracts around 100 000 visitors.

Anyone intending to visit this event should ensure that they are fully protected against measles in order to avoid infection and prevent ongoing transmission of measles virus.

England - Shropshire in the West Midlands of England and bordering Mid Wales has reported 41 cases of measles, as of 2 May 2013. More than half of the cases are reported in Oswestry.

Scotland - Two small clusters of measles have been reported in Scotland, the first in Ayrshire on the southwest coast and the other in Fife on the east coast. Neither of these clusters are associated with the outbreak in Wales. A total of 66 notifications of measles have been recorded in Scotland as a whole in 2013, this compares with 25 during the same time period of 2012.

Advice for Travellers

It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-15 months of age and again pre-school around 3 years 6 months, while unimmunised adults who have not had the disease themselves may consider vaccination if thought to be at risk. Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to give adequate protection.