|Public Health England (PHE) South West is partnering with the travel industry to call on holidaymakers and other travellers to check they’re up-to-date with MMR vaccination prior to summer travel, as outbreaks of measles continue across Europe.|
|Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes leads to serious complications. The disease is still endemic in many countries around the world including Europe, with France, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Germany among the countries reporting the highest case counts according to the European Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).
PHE data published at the end of May showed that measles remains a threat to the UK population, with 231 cases confirmed in England in the first quarter of 2019. The number of cases confirmed in England has been rising since 2018, with many linked to importations from Europe. Young people and adults aged 15 and over who missed out on the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine when they were young, and some under-vaccinated communities have been particularly affected.
Dr. Julie Yates, Screening and Immunisation lead for Public Health England South West, said: “Measles can kill and is incredibly easy to catch, especially if you’re not vaccinated and are travelling to affected countries. If you’re in any doubt about your – or your child’s – vaccination status, ask your GP or check your child’s Red Book. Before you travel you should ensure you and your family are up to date with all currently recommended UK vaccines and MMR is especially important if you’re planning to travel throughout the summer due to the ongoing outbreaks happening across Europe.”
“It’s never too late to get protected and, as we are still seeing cases in the UK, even if you’re not travelling abroad, it’s also worth checking your vaccination status if you are planning to go to Festivals and other big gatherings in the UK. Events where lots of people mix together in close contact can also be places that you can also come into contact with vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. We don’t want these illnesses to ruin the fun at home or abroad so please take a few minutes to add this to your check list and make sure you are protected wherever you are planning to spend the summer”
In the UK, MMR is usually given to infants at around 12 months of age, with a second dose given before school, to ensure best protection. In some cases, MMR can be offered to babies from six months of age (e.g. for travel to countries where measles is common, or during an outbreak situation). Ask your health professional for advice on the best option for your children before you travel.