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Fall in measles cases but slight rise in mumps

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There has been a significant fall in the number of cases of measles infection in England, according to figures published today.

Public Health England said there were 24 cases of confirmed measles reported during the final quarter of 2013. This compares to 103 cases in the previous quarter and 309 cases from the same quarter in 2012.

The numbers of confirmed measles cases in England hit the highest levels since 1995 during the first quarter of 2013, with 587 confirmed cases reported -10 to 16 year olds were the most affected.

The increase prompted a national catch-up programme in April 2013 to improve MMR vaccination uptake in teenagers.

The figures also revealed there were 520 laboratory confirmed cases of mumps with onset in the last quarter of 2013, similar to the 506 cases reported in the previous quarter. There was a total 3,524 cases of mumps confirmed in 2013.

Three cases of rubella were confirmed in the last quarter of 2013, the same as in the previous quarter, bringing the total infected individuals for the year to 12.

PHE head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay said: “We are delighted that measles cases have recently decreased in England.

“It’s heartening to see the success the catch-up programme had in ensuring 95% of 10 to 16 year olds in England received at least one dose of the vaccine,” she said.

Dr Ramsey added that the mumps figures, although an increase, remained much lower than the levels seen in 2004-5, when outbreaks were reported in several universities.

“This probably reflects the fact that most young people now attending university were eligible for two doses of MMR as children,” she said.

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