Surge in measles cases causes concern
CASES of measles have increased in Scotland in the past year, figures show.
Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said that in the first 24 weeks of 2011, they had received 54 reports of suspected measles and 22 laboratory-confirmed cases. In the same period in 2010 there were 38 reports of suspected measles and no confirmed cases.
And for the whole of last year, Scotland saw only 11 confirmed cases of the illness, the HPS report found.
HPS said the cases had been seen in young people who may not have received full vaccination against measles as children. The report said: "This year the increase in measles has predominantly been in young adults - late teens and early twenties - an age group which may not have routinely been offered two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella vaccine] as children."
Most cases involve patients who were not vaccinated at all or were under-immunised against the illness because they had not received the recommended two doses of MMR.
HPS said there had been a small number of clusters of cases of measles reported, but without any spread into the general community.
"Some of the cases have had links to Europe, where large increases in measles have been seen this year, but others have no apparent links outside Scotland or the UK," the report said.
Figures from England and Wales have also indicated a surge in measles cases, with suspicions many infections could have been picked up overseas.
In 2004 and 2005, cases of mumps in Scotland and the rest of the UK increased massively, with more than 5,000 cases in 2005 in Scotland alone.
Uptake of the MMR jab in children has increased in recent years in Scotland. The uptake of the jab fell after research - now discredited - linked the vaccine to autism.
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