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

Data collection


To view notifications (confirmed cases) from 1995 to 2011, view the UK Government Web Archive.


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 (now UK Health Security Agency), 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.

Slide sets

Measles: an update for maternity services

Measles: an update for paediatrics and A&E

Measles: an update for primary care

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination programme for immunisers

Leaflets and posters

Measles and MMR vaccine resources are available to download or order.

Health Protection Reports

Reports prior to 2013 are available on the UK Government Web Archive.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 28 May 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination programme for immunisers slide set.

  2. Added 'Managing measles in asylum seeker accommodation settings' under 'clinical management'.

  3. Added slide sets for primary care and for immunisers on the MMR vaccination programme.

  4. Added 'Measles: information and poster for health professionals', a link to vaccine resources, and slide sets for maternity services, and for Paediatrics and A&E.

  5. Added 'Measles epidemiology 2023'.

  6. Added 'Measles, mumps and rubella: lab-confirmed cases in England 2023'.

  7. Added 'Measles, mumps and rubella: lab-confirmed cases in England 2022'.

  8. Added Measles urgent testing: forms and instructions.

  9. Added Measles, mumps and rubella: lab-confirmed cases in England 2021.

  10. Added Health Protection Reports for 2020.

  11. Added health protection reports from 2014 to 2019.

  12. Added 'Measles: exposure information' to the clinical management section.

  13. Added the measles and rubella elimination UK strategy under epidemiology.

  14. Added link to the measles blog.

  15. Added measles guidance and resources for local authorities.

  16. First published.