Public Health England (PHE) South West and travel agencies are urging holidaymakers and other travellers to check they’re up-to-date with MMR vaccination before summer travel, as outbreaks of measles continue across Europe.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness, unpleasant and sometimes leads to serious complications. The disease is still endemic in many countries around the world including Europe, with France, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Germany among the countries reporting the highest case counts, according to the European Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).

PHE data published at the end of May showed that measles remains a threat to the UK population, with 231 cases confirmed in England in the first quarter of 2019. The number of cases confirmed in England has been rising since 2018, with many linked to importations from Europe.

Young people and adults aged 15 and over who missed out on the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine when they were young, and some under-vaccinated communities have been particularly affected.

In the UK, MMR is usually given to infants at around 12 months of age, with a second dose given before school, to ensure best protection. In some cases, MMR can be offered to babies from six months of age (e.g. for travel to countries where measles is common, or during an outbreak situation). Ask your health professional for advice on the best option for children before setting out.

Two doses of MMR in a lifetime are needed for a person to be considered fully protected.