Parents & guardians urged to check children & young people's Measles immunisations after national incident declared

15 February 2024 3 min read

Data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that there have been 521  confirmed cases of measles in England since 1st October 2023.

Following the recent declaration of a national incident in response to measles outbreaks, Sefton Council has been urging parents and guardians to ensure that children are up to date with their immunisations.

Likely to spread rapidly

Although the initial outbreak was in the West Midlands, clusters of cases are starting to be seen in other regions.

A senior UK health official has warned the disease is likely to spread rapidly across more parts of the country unless more people take up the vaccine.

Easy-to-catch disease

Measles is a highly infectious disease and is particularly easy to catch when in close contact with others. It can lead to serious problems such as pneumonia, meningitis, blindness, encephalitis and convulsions and on rare occasions, long-term disability or death.

A high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash are among the symptoms of measles.

You can find out more about measles from the NHS.

Below, Cheshire and Merseyside GP Dr Sinead Clarke talks about measles and its effects.


The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provides protection from measles infection.

Children are offered the first dose of the MMR vaccine when aged one year and the second dose aged around 3 years 4 months, before they start school. But you can protect yourself by getting the MMR vaccine for free from the NHS whatever your age.

Easy to catch

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “Measles is easy to catch and therefore spreads quickly although it is easy to prevent too with a simple MMR immunisation.

“And the good news is it’s never too late to have one, even if you missed it as a child.”

Parents and guardians can find out whether their child is up to date with their vaccinations by checking their personal child health record (PCHR), also known as the red book, or contacting their GP.

Alternatives available

Mrs Jones continued: “I know some people have expressed concerns that the MMR contains pork ingredients which are used to ensure it remains safe and effective during storage.  However, there are a number of pork-free alternatives available.

“If anyone has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, they should contact their GP practice to book an appointment and also state if they have concerns about the vaccine used.

“Anyone who thinks they may have measles should stay at home and contact NHS 111 for advice, to help avoid spreading infections.”

The Government's Department for Education has also produced a guide on What to do if you think your child has measles and when to keep them off school.


You can use this link to find a leaflet on the Government website explaining the MMR vaccination

There are translations into Bengali, Polish, Romanian, Somali, Ukrainian and Yoruba.

Blog - ‘Let’s make measles history’

Professor Louise Kenny CBE, who is Executive Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool, has recently published an account of her experience of treating a young boy who caught measles when he was a baby and sadly did not survive.

You can read the full story here


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