More than 80 cases of measles have been reported in Birmingham since the beginning of the year – five times as many as last year.
Outbreaks of the disease have been confirmed in England, with young people in their late twenties and early twenties – who may have missed out when vaccination coverage dropped in the early 2000s as a result of unfounded fears of the vaccine – particularly at risk.
The increase in cases of measles has been linked to travel to and from Europe, where there are major outbreaks of measles.
From the beginning of the year until August 26, 86 suspected cases of measles were reported to Public Health England (PHE) in Birmingham.
Everywhere in England and Wales there are now more than 2,000 in 2018.
The number of reports is 5.4 times higher than the 16 cases reported in the same 34 weeks in 2017.
In the 34 weeks ending August 26, 2,033 suspected cases of measles were reported to PHE in England and Wales.
The number of reports is much higher than in the same period in recent years.
1,050 cases were reported in 2017, as were 1,140 in 2016, 850 in 2015 and 1,331 in 2014.
However, the number is lower than in previous outbreaks, with 2,915 cases reported in the first 34 weeks of 2012, and 5,457 cases in the same period in 2013.
Registered doctors in England and Wales have the legal duty to report suspected cases of certain infectious diseases.
Not all reported cases turn out to be measles, but figures from PHE show that about half of the reports are confirmed.
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Between January 1 and August 2018 there are 859 measles cases confirmed by laboratories in England.
In the same period, 1,844 suspected cases were reported, indicating 46 confirmed cases for every 100 reports.
Cases have been reported in most areas with London (300), Southeast (178), Southwest (142), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (83) reporting most cases.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can sometimes lead to serious complications and can be fatal in very rare cases.
Anyone who has not received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine is at risk, but young people in close-mixing environments such as festivals are more at risk, as are non-vaccinated people traveling to Romania and Italy, where there are currently major outbreaks.
Anyone planning to travel to Europe should consult their health advice.
Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of vaccination at PHE, said: "The outbreaks of measles we currently see in England are related to the persistent major outbreaks in Europe, with the majority of cases seen in teenagers and young adults who missed their MMR vaccine. when they were children.
"Anyone who has missed his BMR vaccine in the past or is not sure if he had two doses should contact his general practice to catch up.
"This serves as an important reminder for parents to adopt the BMR vaccination offer for their children at 1 year of age and as a preschool booster at three years and four months of age.
"We also encourage people to ensure that they are aware of their MMR vaccine before they go to countries with an outbreak of measles.
"The UK has recently reached the WHO elimination status for measles and so the overall risk of measles is low for the British population, but we will continue to see cases in non-immunized individuals and prevent limited further spread in communities with low BMR coverage and in age groups with very close mixing. "