Measles spreads in Brazil after cases come from Venezuela

Henrietta Strickland
July 6, 2018

Prior to the start of the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in Russian Federation, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a measles alert advising attendees to ensure their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination was current.

PHE says the rise in cases is largely down to measles being brought back by individuals travelling to and from Europe where there are large outbreaks - a situation that has been linked to low rates of immunisation against the disease in many countries.

To increase American awareness of the United Kingdom and European measles outbreaks, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Watch Level 1 Alert for global travelers on May 2, 2018. They must also work in partnership with Public Health England to support the control of measles in the UK.

A recent article in the British Journal of General Practice concludes that despite progress in vaccine coverage in recent years the condition - which is highly infectious and potentially deadly in the most severe cases - remains a threat to the United Kingdom population, largely because of immunity gaps in older cohorts.

Public Health Physician Dr Margaret Young said the SCPHU was working with the health care facilities and venues where the person had visited, and urged anyone who was in those areas around the same time to ensure they are immune to measles.

"Recent outbreaks of measles have highlighted its ongoing threat", the article states.

Uptake of the MMR vaccine fell heavily in the late 1990s following the publication of research by Andrew Wakefield which suggested a possible link between the inoculation and autism.

PHE said that while vaccine uptake levels in the United Kingdom in young children are now very high, coverage levels dipped to a low of 80% in 2003.

It said this means there are significant numbers of unprotected teenagers and young adults who could contract measles.

The British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) has warned that measles remains a problem in England, and that Global Positioning System must be on high alert for potential cases.

Saliba stressed that measles can be serious, resulting in inflammation of the lungs or brain which can have lasting consequences. "We often think about what travel-related vaccines we might need before going on holiday, but it's also important to check that we are up to date with routine vaccinations like MMR".

'If you are unsure if you have had two doses of MMR call your GP practice to check and catch up if needed'.

This precautionary World Health Organization alert was based upon Russian Federation reporting over 600 measles cases during 2018.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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