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Measles cases in London now in line with West Midlands

Measles cases in London now in line with West Midlands

A rise in measles cases in London has brought the capital in line with the number of cases recorded in the West Midlands – the initial hotspot for the virus.

This comes as the rise in cases appears to be plateauing across the country and as a national catch-up campaign has increased vaccination uptake over recent months.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced last week that measles cases in London accounted for 63 out of a national total of 190 cases recorded since 4 March.

The cases in London make up 33% of the total, while 35% (67) cases were recorded in the West Midlands and 11% (21 cases) in the East Midlands during the same time period.

Since 1 October 2023, 934 measles cases have been recorded in England. The number of cases had increased from 17 in October 2023 to 40 in November, to 153 in December, and to 269 in January 2024. In February, a slight decline was seen, with 231 cases recorded, and the latest figures for March saw 224 cases.

Between January and March 2024, over four times as many five- to 25-year-olds in England received a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination than had in the same period in 2023 – indicating the successful uptake of the national catch-up campaign.

In the first three months of 2024, 75,499 five- to 25-year-olds in England received an MMR vaccination, compared to 18,433 in the same period last year.

Since January, a campaign to encourage vaccine uptake has targeted children and young adults in London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

Health minister Maria Caufield described the fourfold increase in vaccine uptake as ‘hugely welcome figures’ that ‘demonstrate the power of parents and clinicians coming together to protect our children’.

She added: ‘We must not be complacent – measles is a serious disease.’ And she urged those who were not yet fully vaccinated to come forward to receive their jabs.

A version of this article was first published by our sister title The Pharmacist

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