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.

2018 marks 50 years since the introduction of the first measles containing vaccine into the UK childhood immunisation programme. View our online measles blog and follow the timeline to see how the programme has evolved over the last 50 years.

Clinical management

  1. Measles: symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment
  2. National measles guidelines
  3. Measles and rubella elimination UK strategy
  4. Measles: exposure information
  5. Measles: post-exposure prophylaxis
  6. Immunoglobulin: when to use
  7. Vaccination in pregnancy (VIP)
  8. Viral rash in pregnancy
  9. Measles: public health response to cases who have travelled by air whilst infectious
  10. Measles and school trips: travel advice for schools

Data collection

Epidemiology

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

  1. Measles: confirmed cases
  2. Measles notifications, by age group, region and sex
  3. Measles deaths
  4. Measles and rubella elimination UK indicators

Vaccination

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.

2018 marks 50 years since the introduction of the first measles containing vaccine into the UK childhood immunisation programme. View our online measles blog and follow the timeline to see how the programme has evolved over the last 50 years.

Health Protection Reports

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

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 27 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added Health Protection Reports for 2020.

  2. Added health protection reports from 2014 to 2019.

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

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

  5. Added link to the measles blog.

  6. Added measles guidance and resources for local authorities.

  7. First published.