Freshers insisted on getting MMR during outbreaks of measles

New university students must ensure that they have been vaccinated against measles after outbreaks of the highly contagious disease, health officials said.

Public Health England (PHE) urged students to check whether they are up-to-date with both the MenACWY vaccine that protects against meningitis and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) before the start of the term.

The appeal comes after it appears that the number of European cases of measles has reached a peak of eight years.

Some students starting this year at the university may have missed the MMR vaccine as children, with a record of only 80% in 2003, PHE said.

It is never too late to protect themselves and their friends
Dr. Mary Ramsay, PHE

Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at PHE, said that colleges and universities can be "hotspots" for the spread of measles and meningococcus.

She added: "Especially students in the first year have an increased risk of meningococcal infection if they are not vaccinated – which makes sense when they spend a lot of time with new people in restricted environments such as university halls.

"We therefore encourage students to inform their GP if they are aware of their MMR and MenACWY vaccinations before the deadline begins – it is never too late to protect themselves and their friends from these highly contagious and serious diseases . "

More than 41,000 cases of measles were recorded throughout Europe during the first six months of 2018, including 37 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This number is already higher than every year since 2010.

England has also experienced outbreaks of measles, with 828 cases confirmed in the laboratory between January 1 and August 13, according to PHE.

The MMR vaccine is available to anyone who has not received two doses as a child.

The MenACWY jab, introduced in 2015, protects against four meningococcal strains that cause meningitis and septicemia, including the most aggressive, W.

It is routinely offered to those in the years nine and ten at school, but anyone who has missed it can be vaccinated free of charge until their 25th birthday.

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