Press release

Measles figures down following successful catch-up programme

New figures published today by Public Health England show 24 cases of confirmed measles were reported during the final quarter of 2013.

Vaccination programme

This compares to 107 cases in the previous quarter and 559 cases from the same quarter in 2012.

The numbers of confirmed measles cases in England hit the highest levels since 1995 during the first quarter of 2013, with 676 confirmed cases reported: 10 to 16 year olds were the most affected. The increase prompted PHE, NHS England and the Department of Health to announce a national catch-up programme in April 2013 to improve MMR vaccination uptake in teenagers.

The main objective of the national catch up programme was to ensure that at least 95% of children aged 10 to 16 years in England received at least one dose of MMR vaccine by 30 September 2013. A PHE evaluation found that by August 2013, approximately 95% of 10 to 16 year olds in England had received at least 1 dose of measles containing vaccine.

In addition to measles, there were 520 laboratory confirmed cases of mumps with onset in the last quarter of 2013, similar to the 506 cases reported in the previous quarter. There was a total 3,524 cases of mumps confirmed in 2013. Three cases of rubella were confirmed in the last quarter of 2013, the same as in the previous quarter, bringing the total infected individuals for the year to 12.

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE’s head of immunisation said:

Measles is a potentially fatal, but entirely preventable, disease so we are delighted that measles cases have recently decreased in England.

The best way to prevent measles outbreaks is to ensure good uptake of the MMR vaccine across all age groups, so it’s heartening to see the success the catch-up programme had in ensuring 95% of 10 to 16 year olds in England received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Although mumps has increased a little from the same quarter of last year the numbers remain much lower than the levels seen in 2004 and 2005, when outbreaks were reported in several universities. This probably reflects the fact that most young people now attending university were eligible for 2 doses of MMR as children.

Notes to editors

  1. Regional breakdown of confirmed measles cases by date of onset per month for 2013.
Month of onset in 2013 London East Midlands East of England North East North West South East South West West Midlands York and Humber Total
January 29 9 13 56 86 0 30 3 25 251
February 30 4 7 73 62 7 14 11 15 223
March 15 3 12 82 51 6 9 7 17 202
April 28 18 17 110 64 7 25 20 8 297
May 29 10 13 47 59 3 12 14 5 192
June 29 5 7 2 42 3 20 3 6 117
July 14 0 5 5 9 0 32 0 7 72
August 4 0 1 1 2 0 8 0 6 22
September 2 1 1 0 1 0 7 0 1 13
October 8 0 1 0 2 0 4 1 0 16
November 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3
December 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5
Total 2013 192 51 77 376 378 26 163 59 91 1413
  1. For the latest health protection report please visit http://www.hpa.org.uk/hpr/

  2. Read the Evaluation of vaccine uptake during the 2013 MMR catch-up campaign in England report

  3. General information on the MMR vaccine

  4. Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

Infections press office

PHE press office, infections
61 Colindale Avenue
London
NW9 5EQ

Published 28 February 2014
Last updated 4 March 2014 + show all updates
  1. Corrected the measles case figures in the first two paragraphs.
  2. First published.