No new rise in Scottish measles cases

A child is given the measles vaccine. File photo: TSPL
A child is given the measles vaccine. File photo: TSPL
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AN increase in measles cases earlier this year has not continued in the last three months, figures show.

There were 151 clinically suspected measles cases in the first nine months of 2013, up from 57 cases over the same period last year, a Health Protection Scotland (HPS) report has found.

Cases of the infection had risen sharply earlier this year with 100 notifications of suspected measles between April and June, but there were only 30 since then and September.

There have been 51 laboratory confirmed cases of measles so far in 2013, but only three in the last three months, the figures show.

The HPS figures identified three clusters of cases, including one which occurred in a school, between April and June, that contributed to the increase.

HPS said the majority of cases were in unvaccinated or under-immunised individuals - those who have not received the recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine.

The HPS report said: “The large increase in the number of cases seen in Scotland in weeks 9-24 has not continued into the current quarter.

“Clusters of cases and a high number of sporadic cases of unknown exposure origin are no longer being seen. Of the 51 cases so far in 2013, cases had a median age of 15 years. The majority of cases were unvaccinated or under-immunised (those who have not received the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine).”

Last year, Public Health England reported the highest annual number of measles cases for the last 18 years with more than 2,000 cases.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns announced in May that older children would be offered a vaccination against measles following the outbreaks south of the border.

Health boards in Scotland wrote to parents of unvaccinated children or those who are only partially protected to offer them the MMR vaccine or a booster shot.

Other figures released in the HPS report show that the number of confirmed cases of mumps so far this year has fallen to 211 compared to 405 for the same period last year.

The report said mumps cases continue to occur steadily in Scotland among young adults who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine.