Britain hit by measles

According to the Health Protection Agency, there have been 777 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles in Britain in the first seven months of 2011, compared with 374 for all of 2010.
Most of those affected have been children and young adults. The sources of local outbreaks are believed to have been people who travelled to Europe on holiday. Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland have all recorded major outbreaks this year, each experiencing thousands of cases, the Telegraph reports.
Each of the countries saw immunization rates for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine drop precipitously after 1998, when The Lancet published a small study linking it with bowel disorders and autism. The study has since been dismissed comprehensively as seriously flawed.
Immunization rates in Britain only recently recovered, breaking the 90 percent mark earlier this year for the first time in 13 years. The HPA is putting out the study as a warning to parents of students because new cases of measles and meningitis often rise when schools and universities return after the summer break.
"Measles and meningitis are infections that can both be fatal, it is absolutely vital that all students ensure they are completely up to date with all their vaccinations, especially the MMR and Men C vaccine," Dr. Mary Ramsay, the HPA's head of immunization, said, according to the Telegraph. "University bars and campuses where lots of students are in close proximity is an ideal place for bacteria and viruses to spread which is why we may see more outbreaks of these infections in this environment."
Since its introduction in 1999/2000, the Men C vaccine has reduced infections by over 90 percent. A vaccine for Men B strains are expected to be approved by the European Medicines Agency early next year.