November 29, 2008

England, Wales face spike in measles cases

Cases of measles in England and Wales are at their highest level since 1995, prompting fears of an epidemic, healthcare experts say.

The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that vaccination rates for the last decade have been too low to prevent outbreaks of the disease.

The newspaper said cases of measles are highest in the children who were not vaccinated as babies and are now starting secondary school.

So far this year, there have been 1,049 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales. By comparison, there were a total of 990 confirmed cases last year.

Over the last few years we have seen an unprecedented increase in measles cases and we are still receiving reports of cases across the country, said Dr. Mary Ramsay of the Health Protection Agency.

She said the number of measles cases this year represents the highest number of measles cases recorded in England and Wales since the current method of monitoring the disease was introduced in 1995.