Health experts have issued another urgent warning as new “clusters” of measles have appeared in areas across England.

Cases of measles have continued to rise in the UK since October last year, but locations previously not badly affected are now reporting larger outbreaks.

According to the latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) there have been 166 cases in the last month, with 56 of those in the last week.

As previously reported, the West Midlands had been worst hit by measles, accounting for around half of all new cases throughout some of January.

More specifically, most of these cases were discovered in Birmingham.

Case numbers in that region now appear to be stabilising.

But now the UKHSA has reported clusters of infections in London, the North West, Yorkshire, The Humber and the East Midlands.

The breakdown of cases since January 15, as provided by the UKHSA, is:

West Midlands – 55 out of 166 cases (55 percent)
London – 20/166 cases (12 percent)
North West – 17/166 (10 percent)
Yorkshire and The Humber – 16/166 (10 percent)
East Midlands – 15/166 (nine percent).

Since October 1 in England there have been 521 laboratory confirmed measles cases.

Of these 17 cases were reported in October, 42 in November, 160 in December 2023, 252 in January and 50 so far in February 2024.

The majority (66 percent) of these cases are in children under the age of 10, while 25 percent in young people and adults over the age of 15.

Measles is highly contagious and is likely to keep spreading unless more people are vaccinated, experts warn.

In 2017 the World Health Organisation declared that the UK had eliminated measles but due to waning vaccination rates that has not been maintained.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, from the UK Health Security Agency, urged people to ensure their children are given the measles, mumps and rubella jab.

She said: “As expected, due to worryingly low MMR vaccine uptake in some areas across the country, we are now starting to see clusters of cases in other regions.

“While parents are coming forward to take up the offer of the MMR vaccine for their children, there are still hundreds of thousands of children who remain unprotected, and therefore remain at risk of serious complications or lifelong disability.

“I strongly urge parents to take up the offer of the MMR vaccine now to make sure their child is protected.”

Figures show that approximately 85 percent of children in England had received two MMR doses by their fifth birthday in 2022/23, which was the lowest level since 2010-11. The recommended figure is 95 percent.

The first MMR dose is usually given at 12 months old, while the second jab is administered at about three years and four months.

Symptoms of measles can include:

  • A high temperature
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • A cough
  • Red, sore, watery eyes
  • Spots in the mouth
  • Red spots on the skin and a rash.

If you think your child has measles you should call 111 or book an urgent GP appointment.

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