MMR vaccine advice for public planning on travel to parts of Europe following outbreaks of measles

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 – Health Protection
MMR vaccine advice for public planning on travel to parts of Europe following outbreaks of measles

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding people planning on travelling to continental Europe to ensure they have had their Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations. The advice comes following a number of confirmed cases of measles in people who have recently returned from Romania and Italy. All of the cases have been reported in children and adults who have not received two doses of the MMR vaccine.

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

Children and young people who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine are at risk. Unvaccinated people travelling to Romania and Italy, where there are currently large outbreaks of measles, and Germany, are at particularly high risk.

The MMR vaccine is available, free of charge, to all adults and children who are not up to date with their two doses. Anyone who is not sure if they are fully-vaccinated should check with their GP practice.

Dr Jillian Johnston, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, said: “England is currently experiencing a number of measles outbreaks which are linked to ongoing larger outbreaks in continental Europe. People who have recently travelled, or are planning to travel to Romania, Italy and Germany, and have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk.

“Parents should take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at one year of age,  and get them the pre-school booster at 3 years and 4 months of age. Children and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had two doses should contact their GP practice to catch-up.

“We also encourage people to ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccine before travelling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks.

“The UK recently achieved WHO measles elimination status and so the overall risk of measles to the population here is low. However, due to ongoing measles outbreaks in continental Europe, we will continue to see cases in unimmunised individuals and limited onward spread can occur in communities with low MMR coverage and in age groups with very close mixing.”

Anyone planning to travel to Europe over the Christmas period should check NaTHNaC website for advice - http://pha.site/mmr2