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Government warns unvaccinated UK festivalgoers

Those who haven't had the MMR vaccine should steer clear of music festivals this summer, says Public Health England, amid another measles outbreak

By Jamie Raybould on 29 May 2018

image © Public Health England

The British government has advised everyone attending a music festival this summer to ensure they are immunised against measles, after outbreaks in the infectious disease across the country.

There have been 440 laboratory confirmed measles cases between 1 January 2018 and 9 May 2018, with the most cases found in London (164). Other areas with a large number of cases are the south-east of England (86), the West Midlands (78), the south-west (42) and West Yorkshire (37).

The increase in outbreaks is often linked with travelling to Europe, especially Italy and Romania, where there are currently large outbreaks occurring. Those most in danger of infection are unvaccinated young people in close proximity to one another – such as at music festivals.

Festivals “pose an ideal opportunity for the infection to spread quickly”

PHE issued a similar warning in summer 2016.

Festivals “pose an ideal opportunity for the infection to spread quickly”, says Dr Mary Ramsay, Public Health England’s head of immunisation, with “close-mixing environments” such as festivals more at risk.

“This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccination for their children at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years and 4 months of age,” says Dr Ramsay.

Measles is on the rise in Europe, boosted by low rates of immunisation, according to a recent WHO report.


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