U.K. reports 330 measles cases so far this year

Data from the Health Protection Agency has shown that more than 330 U.K. cases of measles have been reported in the nation by April’s end, which is close to the amount of cases reported in all of 2010.

A total of 334 confirmed cases of measles have been reported since the beginning of the year, compared with 33 cases during the same period last year and 374 in all of 2010. Small outbreaks have occurred in schools, universities and within individual families, while others caught the disease elsewhere in Europe, which faces a rise in measles cases, The Guardian reports.

The World Health Organization warned of over 6,500 cases of measles in 33 European countries in mid-April. France had been the worst hit with close to 5,000 cases, with those under 25 the most affected in England and Wales. The vast majority of those infected were not vaccinated against the diseases.

"We again are reminding parents and young adults of the importance of immunization,” Dr. Mary Ramsay, the head of the HPA’s immunization department, said, according to The Guardian. "Although MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] coverage has improved over the last few years, we cannot stress enough that measles is serious and, in some cases, it can be fatal. Measles is a highly infectious and potentially dangerous illness which spreads very easily. Whether you stay here in the UK or travel abroad, it is crucial that individuals who may be at risk are fully immunized.”

Recent figures showed that between September to December, 89.4 percent of children in the U.K. received their first MMR dose by the age of two and 84.8 percent of children received their second dose by the age of five. The numbers are both up from previous figures.