Map shows suspected measles cases on Teesside as England faces biggest outbreak in over a decade

A child with measles
-Credit: (Image: Health Check Wales)

The World Health Organisation declared that the UK had eliminated measles in 2016 thanks to the success of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

But just two years later that status was removed following a surge in cases. Now - after vaccine takeup has dropped across the nation - England is facing its biggest measles outbreak in more than a decade.

There have now been 2,049 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles since the current outbreak started in October in Birmingham, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). The majority of these cases (63% or 1,283) were in children aged 10 or younger.

Another 30% were in young people and adults aged 15 and over (614 cases). London has had more confirmed cases than any other region, with 740, followed by the West Midlands (663), and the East Midlands (176).

Separate figures show that the UKHSA received notifications of 736 suspected cases of measles from GPs in England and Wales last month alone. These are alerts that GPs are required to send to the UKHSA every time they diagnose a case of what they believe to be measles.

In our region, Middlesbrough has the highest number of measles alerts with 71, this includes 3 in June. Redcar and Cleveland has 25, with 2 in June, and Stockton has 27, with 5 in June.

While these cases have not been confirmed in a laboratory, they show suspected infections in council areas and can provide an early warning of possible outbreaks. Since last October, the UKHSA has received notifications of just under 7,000 suspected cases in England, plus another 500 in Wales.

Based on the number of lab-confirmed cases since October, around 30% are likely to test positive for measles. These figures show that Birmingham - where the current outbreak began - has had the most suspected cases since October with 439, including 14 in June.

Next is Manchester with 160, and then Wandsworth and Leicester with 149 each. But the London borough of Lambeth had the most suspected cases last month with 20, followed by Wandsworth, also in London, with 19, and then Coventry with 16.

You can see the suspected cases near you with our interactive map.

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