This site is intended for health professionals only

“No end in sight” for measles outbreak

Confirmed cases of measles reached an 18-year high in 2012 following sustained outbreaks in Wales and England. 

Last year there were more than 2,016 cases of measles in England and Wales, although current uptake of the MMR vaccine is the highest it has ever been. 

Figures reported by primary care trusts (PCTs) show coverage of 91% in 2011/12, compared to 89% in 2010/11. 

This is the first time coverage has exceeded 90% since 1997/98, however MMR coverage is still below the World Health Organisation (WHO) target of 95%. 


The current Welsh measles outbreak, based in Swansea, is unlikely to see the number of confirmed cases drop. 

Cases of measles reported to Public Health Wales have now reached 620. 

Despite more than 1,700 MMR jabs being given over the weekend, the public health body is warning there is “no sign of the outbreak coming to an end”. 

Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: “We need to see this level of response continuing in the coming weeks if we are to bring this outbreak under control.

“We cannot be confident that the outbreak will not continue to grow with so many children still at risk from this very contagious and potentially fatal disease.”

'Extra jab'

More than 900 children received non-routine MMR jabs in GP surgeries but at least 6,000 children remain unvaccinated in Swansea. 

Public Health Wales has arranged for GPs to give children between six and 12 months a vaccination in addition to the scheduled two-dose vaccination. 

Dr Marion Lyons said: “There's no adverse effect to this extra jab and those children would still need to receive the recommended two doses at 13 months and three years and four months of age.”

Measles cases continue to be reported across Wales.