Latest measles cases for the West Midlands

By on 07/06/2013 in News

Birmingham Public Health supporting MMR catch-up programme

As PHE West Midlands publishes updated measles data for the West Midlands (see news release below), Birmingham public health bosses today stressed the importance of the national catch-up programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children and teenagers.

Dr Nicholas Aigbogun, Speciality Registrar at Birmingham Public Health, said: “This catch-up programme is absolutely vital and I can't stress enough just how important it is that parents ensure their children are fully immunised. The MMR vaccine could save your child's life.”

Birmingham Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, added: “Understandably the outbreak in South Wales means the media focus has been on measles, but we mustn’t forget the MMR jab protects against three highly infectious and potentially very nasty conditions.

“While rubella is thankfully very rare, last year saw the highest number of cases across England since 1999. For most people rubella is a mild infectious disease, but it can have devastating consequences for pregnant women.

“Similarly, mumps can be a very nasty condition which can cause viral meningitis, deafness and in extreme cases can be fatal.

“The safest way to protect yourself and your children against measles, mumps and rubella is the combined MMR vaccine and I would encourage all parents to ensure their children’s vaccinations are up to date.”

Latest measles cases published for the West Midlands

The first monthly confirmed case data for PHE West Midlands is published today, as part of the national MMR catch-up programme. The figures show a further 18 cases of the preventable, infectious disease in April, on top of 20 cases from January to March this year.

In England there were 288 cases in April, up from 175 in April 2012, bringing the total number so far in 2013 to 962. This continues the trend seen since early 2012 with monthly totals around the highest recorded levels seen since 1994. The regions most affected continue to be the North West and North East, but cases have been reported across all regions in England.

In line with trends across the country, the number of cases of measles has continued to rise in the West Midlands. Up to the end of April, 38 cases were confirmed, following a total of 127 cases in 2012.

The catch-up programme aims to ensure that at least 95 per cent of 10-16 year olds have received at least one dose of MMR. This is estimated to be around 300,000 children (eight per cent). The programme is also keen to reach another 300,000 plus in this age group, who need a second dose of MMR to give them full protection, along with a further 300,000 plus children below and above this age band that need another dose; around one million children in total.

The national catch-up programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children and teenagers has so far resulted in more than 95 per cent of GP practices across England ordering extra doses of the vaccine - over 200,000 extra in total.

The catch-up programme, run by Public Health England, NHS England, the Department of Health and local authorities, aims to prevent measles outbreaks by giving MMR to as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds as possible.

This age group are most at risk of measles due to the fall in coverage of MMR that occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s when concern around the discredited link between autism and the vaccine was widespread.

Today MMR coverage among five year olds in England is at its highest recorded levels, with 94 per cent receiving one dose and 90 per cent receiving two doses.

Dr Sue Ibbotson, PHE West Midlands Centre director, said: “Our ambition is to vaccinate 95 per cent of 10-16 year olds at risk in time for the next school year and the number of extra doses ordered by so many GP practices is very encouraging.

“Local public health teams have been working hard to encourage uptake with children and teenagers in the West Midlands. The message to parents who think their child may not be fully immunised is to check today and book an appointment with your GP. The vaccine is there waiting to be used and could save your child's life. Measles is a serious illness and can lead to acute complications, including hospitalisation in more than one in five cases among teens this year.

“We are getting regular feedback from the local NHS teams about what is happening on the ground and are encouraged by the very high levels of involvement by GP practices across the West Midlands. We will shortly be getting results from a new monitoring system that will tell us the number of vaccines given to children.

“We are continuing to work closely with NHS partners to ensure we have accurate records of children who have missed vaccination, to help guide effective local decision making about possible additional targeted activity.”

In addition to the more imminent risk of measles, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated young people will remain susceptible to infection with mumps and rubella.


Notes to Editors

1. West Midlands measles data by local authority in Annex 1

2. The number of vaccinations ordered cannot be broken down to a local level.

3. The catch-up programme sets out a national framework within which local teams - led by NHS England Area Teams, working alongside Directors of Public Health in Local Government, and supported by PHE Centres - are producing tailored plans to identify and give MMR to unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds through GPs and/or school programmes. Local intelligence may reveal the need to expand the focus of the catch-up activity beyond the 10-16 year old age groups and where this is recognised, further local action will be taken.

4. PHE estimates that there are approximately one third of a million 10-16 year olds (around eight per cent) who are unvaccinated and another third of a million who need at least one further dose of MMR to give them full protection. It is also estimated that there are around another one third of a million children below and above this age band who need at least one further dose of MMR. The target population for this catch-up programme is therefore of the order of one million doses. MMR vaccination provides 95 per cent protection against measles. A second dose is then needed to provide almost complete protection.

5. For more information on measles and MMR, please visit: or

6. Key resources for healthcare professionals involved in the MMR catch up vaccination programme are available from:

7. Public Health England is a new executive agency of the Department of Health that took up its full responsibilities on 1 April, 2013. PHE works with national and local government, industry and the NHS to protect and improve the nation’s health and support healthier choices and will be addressing inequalities by focusing on removing barriers to good health. To find out more visit our website, follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.

Issued by Public Health England West Midland. For more information/media requests contact 0121 232 9223/4.

Annex 1

Confirmed cases of measles by month and year with a comparison to the previous years by Local Authority for the West Midlands

Number by Month Year
Rate - Cases per 100,000 person years

No - Number of confirmed cases

Apr Mar Feb Jan Year to date

(up to 30th April)

Annualised rate per 100,000 person years

Previous year

(2012 up to 30th April)

Annualised rate per 100,000 person years

Previous year - total


No Rate No Rate No Rate
West Midlands 18 6 11 3 38 2.06 13 0.70 127 2.26
Birmingham 1 1 0 0 2 0.57 4 1.13 10 0.93
Coventry 1 0 1 1 3 2.88 0 0 5 1.58
Dudley 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Herefordshire 4 0 10 0 14 23.2 0 0 1 0.54
Sandwell 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.32
Shropshire 5 5 0 0 10 9.90 4 3.94 6 1.95
Solihull 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Staffordshire 1 0 0 1 2 0.72 1 0.36 14 1.65
Stoke-on-Trent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.80
Telford and Wrekin 2 0 0 0 2 3.65 0 0 5 3.00
Walsall 1 0 0 0 1 1.13 0 0 3 1.11
Warwickshire 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 28 5.12
Wolverhampton 1 0 0 0 1 1.22 0 0 10 4.00
Worcestershire 2 0 0 1 3 1.61 4 2.14 42 7.41

Based upon onset date where available. Data correct as at 29/05/2013.

Rates are calculated using ONS 2011 mid-year population estimates.

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