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Measles Alert

publication date: Jul 14, 2023

Measles alert

NHS facts about measles:

  • Measles cases are rising. There is no specific treatment for measles and the MMR vaccination gives the best possible protection against illness.
  • Between 1 January and 30 June there have been 128 cases of measles, compared to 54 cases in the whole of 2022, with 66 per cent of the cases detected in London although cases have been seen in all regions.
  • Just one person with measles can infect nine out of ten people who have not had the MMR vaccination.
  • Measles is more than just a rash, in some cases it can lead to meningitis and sepsis, causing real risk to life.
  • 1 in 5 cases of measles cases requires a hospital visit.
  • Since the measles vaccine was introduced in the 1960s, over 20 million cases have been avoided, saving over 4,500 lives.
  • Measles is completely preventable with the MMR vaccine. Two doses provide over 99 per cent protection.
  • Young children are offered one MMR vaccine after their first birthday and the second before they start school, usually at around three years and four months. This is because two doses of the MMR vaccine provides the best possible protection against measles, as well as mumps and rubella. 
  • 95 per cent MMR vaccination uptake, the target set by the WHO, is enough to create herd immunity, protecting those who are not able to be vaccinated, such as babies under one years old, and stop measles circulating.
  • Measles is highly infectious respiratory infection and can be passed on up to four days before a rash appears.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared measles as one of the world's most contagious diseases. 

To find out more, visit the NHS website.