The UK government’s Public Health England (PHE) agency issued a warning today advising Brits to check if they are vaccinated against the measles virus, in light of a surge in the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of measles across England so far in 2018.
From the start of 2018 until May 9, 440 cases of measles have been confirmed in England, with 164 cases in London alone. Other parts of England affected include the South East, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.
“PHE local health protection teams are working closely with the NHS and local authorities to raise awareness with health professionals and local communities,” the agency said in an official press release on May 11.
Public Health England said a number of Brits were infected with the deadly disease while on holiday in other parts of Europe which are facing large outbreaks, and brought the infection with them back to the UK, passing it on to other unvaccinated people in their communities.
“The measles outbreaks we are currently seeing in England are linked to ongoing large outbreaks in Europe. The majority of cases we are seeing are in teenagers and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine when they were children,” Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at Public Health England, said.
Two doses of the vaccine are typically administered separately to offer better protection against the virus.
“Anyone who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had 2 doses should contact their GP practice to catch-up,” Dr. Ramsay added.