Press release

North East measles outbreak weekly update: 4 April 2013

The latest figures for the ongoing measles outbreak in the North East have been published today by Public Health England (PHE).

Measles bacteria

Since the beginning of September 2012, when the numbers started increasing, 200 confirmed cases and 176 suspected cases of the illness have now been reported. This is an increase of 19 confirmed and 14 suspected cases on the previous week.

The majority of cases continue to be reported in the Tees area. People aged between 10 and 19 years continue to be most affected, making up 39% of all cases.

Julia Waller, immunisation lead for the North East PHE Centre said: “Measles is highly infectious and unvaccinated children and adults who haven’t had it before are at risk when it is circulating, as it is now in this region.

“There is no treatment for measles but it can be prevented by the MMR vaccine and two doses are required to ensure the best protection.

“If anyone is unsure about their immunisation status they should check with their GP. If you’ve missed out on MMR in the past it’s always possible to catch-up as the vaccine can be given at any age.”

To prevent spreading the illness, PHE advises people with symptoms of measles to:

  • stay away from school, nursery or work until at least four full days have elapsed after the development of a rash
  • telephone your GP surgery or NHS walk-in centre to inform them you or your child has a rash illness before attending, so that arrangements can be made in advance for minimising contact with other vulnerable patients.
  • avoid going to A&E unless you are seriously ill, and if you do attend, telephone ahead to let them know you or your child may have measles
  • avoid contact with pregnant women, people with weak immune systems and babies who are too young to be vaccinated, as they are more vulnerable to infection

Notes for editors

1. Number of confirmed measles cases reported in the North East

North East September 2012 to date 2013 to date 2012 2011 2010
Cases reported 200* 164* 41 18 11

(* Provisional data)

Nationally PHE is seeing increasing reports of measles. During 2012 there were 2,016 laboratory confirmed cases of measles (provisional data), the highest annual total since 1994. Cases have been reported across all regions with the highest numbers seen in the North West.

2. Number of confirmed measles cases reported since September 2012 by local authority area

County Durham 18
Darlington 29
Gateshead 1
Northumberland 1
Middlesbrough 66
Stockton 74
Redcar and Cleveland 6
Hartlepool 3
Sunderland 2
North Tyneside 0
Newcastle 0
South Tyneside 0
Total 200

3. Immunisation data broken down by PCT

Immunisation data broken down by PCT

4. More information about measles

Measles information from Public Health England

Measles information from NHS Choices

5. Previous press releases about this measles outbreak

Previous regional releases about this measles outbreak can be found on the Health Protection Agency website. The HPA become part of Public Health England on 1 April 2013.

Published 4 April 2013