Measles cases already up on last year

Cases of measles in the first five months of this year have surpassed the number for the whole of 2010, according to new data.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) reported 496 cases of measles in England and Wales up to the end of May this year, compared with 374 for the whole of 2010.

Most cases were in London and the South East, and children and teenagers were most commonly affected. Small outbreaks have occurred in universities, schools and families, and there have been links with travel abroad after a surge in cases across Europe.

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HPA data also shows a rise in the proportion of children having the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Among youngsters aged two, quarterly figures for January to March show 90 per cent had received their first jab – the highest level for 13 years.

The figures showed that by the age of five, 92.8 per cent of children had received their first dose