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  • 1440 Daily Digest

British Measles Outbreak

England's worst measles outbreak in more than a decade has spread from its original hot spot in the West Midlands region to areas around the country, according to new government data. Roughly two-thirds of the cases have been reported in children 10 years old and younger, with almost half in children under the age of 4.

The airborne disease is highly contagious, causing rashes, fever, and respiratory issues. Most deaths in young children occur from associated pneumonia, though roughly one in 1,000 cases results in encephalitis (brain inflammation). The development of a vaccine in 1963 led to a drop in global deaths from 6 million to around 100,000 annually.

Confirmed cases in the UK have jumped from 17 in October to more than 250 in January. For comparison, the US—which has five times the population of the UK—reported 58 cases in total last year. 

Take a deep dive into how measles works here (w/video).

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