Measles is caused by a highly-infectious virus. Mass gatherings and cramped living conditions can provide ‘ideal’ conditions for the disease to spread.
In Europe, Football tournaments, kickboxing competitions, and even dog shows have provided an opportunity for the measles virus to spread in large groups. And the US suffered a highly-publicised outbreak that began at a Disneyland resort.
Now authorities in the UK are encouraging festival-goers to ensure they are vaccinated before attending concerts and fairs. At the same time, German health officials are proactively vaccinating asylum seekers arriving from Chechnya due to a surge in the number of cases.
A significant number of cases, linked to music festivals and other large public events, have been reported in the UK since June 2016.
This followed an increase in measles over the year with 234 cases confirmed between January and June, compared with 54 for the same period in 2015. There were 38 suspected measles cases reported in people who attended events in June and July 2016.
Teenagers and young people who are unsure if they have been fully vaccinated should check with their GP and make an appointment to ensure they receive the 2 doses of MMR vaccine required.
Young people planning to attend other festivals are being urged to ensure they have had two doses of MMR vaccine.
“Measles isn’t common these days because most of us are vaccinated, but young people who missed their MMR jab as children are vulnerable, especially if gathered in large numbers at an event,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England.