UK Health Security Agency. Measles outbreak could spread warns UKHSA Chief Executive. 2024a. https//

UK Health Security Agency. Latest measles statistics published. 2024b. https//

Measles: National incident declared after sharp rise in cases

02 February 2024


Uptake of the MMR vaccine has been at its lowest for a decade and following a sharp rise in cases, the UK Health Security Agency declared a national incident. Dorothy Lepkowska explains

Low take-up of vaccines was said to be to blame for a surge in measles cases in the UK, and across Europe, this winter, as the government launched a campaign urging parents to check their children's immunisation history.

The UK Health Security Agency (2024a) declared a national incident in January after a sharp rise in the number of measles cases, coinciding with the lowest uptake of vaccines recorded in more than a decade and ‘well under’ the recommended coverage.

One of the worst-hit areas in the new year was the West Midlands. As of 18 January, there were 216 confirmed cases and 103 probable cases since October 2023. Around 80% of cases were in Birmingham, with about 10% in Coventry, the majority being in children aged under 10 years. However, further cases were reported in other parts of the country in the weeks that followed.

Professor Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), warned that cases would rise across the country because too few children had been vaccinated.

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