Health protection – collection

Measles: guidance, data and analysis

The symptoms, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of measles.

Measles is caused by a morbillivirus of the paramyxovirus family. Early symptoms include the onset of fever, malaise (aches and pains), coryza (head cold), conjunctivitis (red eyes) and cough.

The most common complications of measles include pneumonia, ear infection, diarrhoea and convulsions. Rarely, measles can cause encephalitis and death.

Measles is a notifiable disease in England and Wales. Health professionals must inform local health protection teams of suspected cases.

Measles is vaccine preventable. In the UK children receive 2 doses of the combined measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule.

Clinical management

  1. Measles: symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment

    • 17 August 2014
    • Guidance
  2. National measles guidelines

    • 28 October 2010
    • Guidance
  3. Measles: post-exposure prophylaxis

    • 1 May 2009
    • Research and analysis
  4. Measles and school trips: travel advice for schools

    • 1 June 2011
    • Promotional material
  5. Infection control in schools

    • 2 September 2014
    • Guidance
  6. Rash in pregnancy

    • 1 January 2011
    • Guidance
  7. Measles: public health response to cases who have travelled by air whilst infectious

    • 26 June 2012
    • Guidance


To view notifications (confirmed cases) from 1995 to 2011, view the National Archive website.

  1. Measles deaths

    • 10 January 2014
    • Research and analysis
  2. Measles notifications, by age group, region and sex

    • 29 October 2014
    • Research and analysis
  3. Measles: confirmed cases

    • 22 August 2014
    • Research and analysis


Immunisation is the most effective way to protect against measles. Children should receive 2 doses of MMR before the age of 5 years.

In April 2013, Public Health England, NHS England and the Department of Health announced a national catch-up programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children and teenagers.

Vaccine uptake data for MMR are available through the Cover of vaccination evaluated rapidly (COVER) programme.

  1. Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): use of combined vaccine instead of single vaccines

    • 1 January 2014
    • Guidance
  2. Vaccination in pregnancy (VIP)

    • 21 January 2015
    • Detailed guide
  3. Immunoglobulin: when to use

    • 1 October 2008
    • Guidance