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Measles cases continue to plummet

9 September 2013

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Measles cases are continuing to fall, with just 73 confirmed cases in July. 

This is the third consecutive drop, bringing the total number of cases to 1,365 since the start of the year. 

Public Health England (PHE) launched a nationwide MMR catch-up programme in April, which aimed to vaccinate as many 10-16 year olds as possible before the new school year which started this week. 

The figures show that at least 65,000 previously unvaccinated children received one dose of MMR vaccine since last year. 

Also 2% more children aged between 10-16 were given two doses. 

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE head of immunisation, said: “We are still making good progress towards the 95% uptake target. We have seen a persistent month-on-month drop in cases, however, it is still too soon to tell if this is of consequence to the campaign.

“As children return to school this week it is important to remember that measles is highly infectious and spreads easily in the classroom. Children who are fully vaccinated with MMR help to stop the spread and therefore to protect their friends and families.” 

Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: “These figures, which show that more children have been immunised and cases are presently going down, are really encouraging.”

Vaccine supply figures show that around 200,000 extra doses of MMR have been used. The government is now drawing up plans to further increase vaccine uptake in school age children.