Measles infection in Northern Ireland

1 Summary

  • From 1 January 2024 to 18 April, 98 clinically suspected measles cases have been notified to the Public Health Agency.
  • Of those notified during 2024 to 18 April, four were laboratory confirmed.
  • A Northern Ireland measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination catch-up campaign is currently running to increase protection against the virus among children aged 12 months up to and including twenty-five years of age.

2 Background

Measles is a systemic viral infection caused by the measles virus. It is normally characterised by a fever, rash and respiratory illness. For more information about measles please visit NI Direct | Measles.

A vaccine against measles, which also provides protection against mumps and rubella (MMR), is included in the Northern Ireland childhood vaccination schedule at one year of age and at three years and four months. From February 2024, anyone in Northern Ireland aged from one to twenty-five years, who has not already had two doses of MMR, is also eligible to receive the vaccine as part of a regional ‘catch-up’ campaign. For more information please visit NI Direct | MMR catch-up campaign, NI Direct | MMR and NI PHA | MMR vaccine catch-up.

Public and clinician awareness of measles has changed over time, especially during February 2024, which may contribute to changes in trends.

Details of case definitions and methods are at the end of this document. Data were correct at 9am on 18 April 2024.

3 Measles notifications, 2023-2024

The number of notified clinically suspected measles cases from the start of 2023 until the report date are shown (Table 3.1).

Table 3.1: Counts of measles notifications, 2023-2024.
2023 2024
(N=19) (N=98)
Case category
Confirmed 0 (0%) 4 (4.1%)
Probable 0 (0%) 19 (19.4%)
Possible 19 (100%) 75 (76.5%)

Please note: in the table above data for 2024 is up to 18 April