London could witness measles outbreak, warns health agency: ‘Very major risk as… | World News - Hindustan Times
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London could witness measles outbreak, warns health agency: ‘Very major risk as…’

Jul 16, 2023 06:35 AM IST

London Measles Outbreak: Data revealed that there has been a steady rise in measles cases this year which indicates a resurgence of the illness in London.

London is standing at risk of a major measles outbreak, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned. It could result in tens of thousands getting hospitalised, it said even though there has been an improvement in MMR vaccination rates. An outbreak of between 40,000 and 160,0000 cases can be experienced in London which can cause dozens of deaths and lead to thousands getting hospitalised, the agency said.

London Measles Outbreak: A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is pictured.(Reuters)
London Measles Outbreak: A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is pictured.(Reuters)

UKHSA consultant epidemiologist Dr Vanessa Saliba said, “Measles can be a serious infection that can lead to complications, especially in young children and those with weakened immune systems. Due to longstanding suboptimal vaccine uptake there is now a very real risk of seeing big outbreaks in London.”

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Data revealed that there has been a steady rise in measles cases this year which indicates a resurgence of the illness in London. Between January 1 and June 30, there were 128 cases of measles reported, in comparison to 54 cases that came up in the whole of 2022 in UK. Of these, 66 per cent were detected in London, although cases have been reported from all regions, data showed.

UKHSA said that measles can cause severe illness with an estimated 20-40 per cent of children getting hospitalised.

“UKHSA is right to be worried about this. Measles is one of the most infectious viruses to infect humans. About two in 1,000 infected people will die, the main risk being in children under five years old, but adults can get very sick as well,” Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia said.

“With measles being so infectious once the vaccine uptake rate falls you can’t rely on herd immunity from other parents vaccinating their children to protect you child if you do not get them immunised and in London particularly we are approaching that point,” he added.

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