‘Measles outbreaks make MMR vaccination vital before visiting Europe’

RCN warns that young adults who missed the vaccine in the 1990s could be at risk

The RCN has urged holidaymakers destined for the continent to ensure their measles vaccinations are up to date, after outbreaks in parts of Europe.

Getting immunised is quick and simple, the RCN says.  Picture: Alamy

The college warns that young adults who missed the combined MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine in the 1990s, due to now-discredited scare stories about supposed links to autism, could be at risk when visiting festivals in Europe over the summer.

Confirmed cases up

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) highlighted Greece, Romania, Italy and France as countries particularly affected.

Measles outbreaks are not just a problem on the continent, with 757 cases of measles reported in the UK so far this year, nearly triple the 274 confirmed cases for the whole of 2017.

RCN professional lead for public health nursing Helen Donovan says the threat posed by measles should not be underestimated.

‘Measles is extremely infectious, especially where large crowds of people gather, such as at festivals or in towns,’ she says.

‘Thanks to vaccination it has become increasingly rare in the UK, but recent increases in infection rates show we can’t be complacent.’

Check vaccination status

Ms Donovan urges people to ensure their vaccinations are up to date. Anyone who wants to check their immunisation status can contact their GP. 

‘The MMR vaccine is free. Getting immunised is quick and simple – an appointment with your practice nurse will only take a few minutes,’ she says.

The ECDC says to stop measles transmission and protect the most vulnerable individuals, especially infants, at least 95% of the population needs to receive two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Only four EU/EEA countries have reached the target this year, it says. The figures for the UK fall just short of 95%.

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