Diagnosis of measles at highest rate in 12 years

Share this article
Have your say

Cases of measles increased in Scotland last year following a huge rise in the illness in England, statistics show.

Figures from Health Protection Scotland stated there were 28 lab-confirmed measles cases in 2012 and 23 probable cases – the second highest in 12 years.

There were 24 confirmed cases in 2011, ten confirmed and one probable case in 2010 and 17 confirmed in 2009.

The highest measles total in the past 12 years in Scotland was in 2008, when there were 54 confirmed and 18 probable cases.

It comes after figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in England showed measles had hit an 18-year high.

Alison Potts, epidemiologist at HPA, said they had seen a lot of cases of measles in 2012, but there had been worse years.

“We only see cases of measles in people who have not been immunised,” she said.

“Uptake of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is high so we have a lot of the population protected.

“So what we are seeing is there are small communities, quite often in families who have chosen not to have MMR and when one of them gets measles it spreads between them.”

Dr Potts said most cases were found in concentrated populations, such as the Central Belt, and in areas close to England.

There were 2,016 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales in 2012 – the highest annual total since 1994.

Dr Potts said the situation in Scotland would become more worrying if cases of measles started to spread outside of families or the close communities where they originated, but that had not been seen yet.