25 Jul 2018

Measles reminder

Ensure all travellers are up to date with measles vaccination Measles reminder

All travellers should ensure they are fully protected against measles, either through a known history of past infection or with a record of two doses of a measles containing vaccine.

Measles is still endemic in many countries/regions around the world including Europe. Large outbreaks continue to be reported and summaries of measles cases and population incidence can be found here:

The UK recently achieved WHO measles elimination status, however measles remains a threat to the UK population [1]. There are ongoing measles outbreaks in England linked to importations from Europe [2]. Young people and adults aged 15 and over who missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were younger, and some under-vaccinated communities have been particularly affected [2].

As history teaches us, elimination can only be sustained by maintaining and improving coverage of the MMR vaccine in children and by using all opportunities to catch up older children and adults who missed out on the vaccine. 

Advice for travellers

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes leads to serious complications. 

The MMR vaccine is available to all adults and children who are not up to date with their two doses [3]. Anyone who is not sure if they are protected should check with their GP practice.

Before you travel you should make sure you are up to date with all currently recommended UK vaccines.

In the UK, MMR is usually given to infants at around 12 months of age with a second dose given before school, to ensure best protection. In some cases, MMR can be offered to babies from 6 months of age (e.g. for travel to countries where measles is common, or during an outbreak situation). Ask your health professional for advice on the best option for your children before you travel.

Two doses of MMR in a lifetime are needed for a person to be considered fully protected [4].

Advice for health professionals

Guidance on measles vaccination is available in Immunisation against infectious disease Chapter 21. Advice on immunisation against measles is also available for those whose immunisation status is uncertain.

In the UK, measles is a notifiable disease. Any case of suspected measles should be notified to the local Health Protection Team.

Resources

Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Democratic Republic of Congo

Update on case numbers and advice for travellers Read more

West Nile virus transmission season 2018: European Union/EEA and EU neighbouring countries

An early start to the transmission season and an upsurge of human cases in Europe and neighbouring countries is reported Read more

Avoidance of sexual transmission of Zika virus

Public Health England is reviewing the recommendations for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus Read more

TUBERCULOSIS GREEN BOOK UPDATED CHAPTER

The tuberculosis chapter in the Green Book (Immunisation against infectious disease) has been published Read more

CYCLOSPORA IN TRAVELLERS RETURNING FROM MEXICO

An increase in cases of Cyclospora infection in travellers who have recently returned from Mexico Read more
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