Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Measles cases continue to rise

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has released figures showing a continued increase in the number of cases of measles reported in England and Wales. These figures have been reported in the general media (BBC).

Between January to November 2008 there were 1,217 cases of measles reported compared to 990 in 2007, 740 is 2006 and just 78 in 2005. The rising number of cases is being blamed on the "relatively low MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine uptake over the past decade".

According to HPA data, MMR vaccine uptake for the first dose is now 80% by the age of 2 years. A catch up program has also been announced that aims to reduce the risk of a measles epidemic by ensuring provision of two doses of the vaccine to every child up to the age of 18.

Action: Clinicians should continue to remind parents about the benefits of having their children vaccinated and ensure that cases of measles are notified to their local authority.

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