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Epidemiological update: Measles - monitoring European outbreaks

24 Mar 2017

​A measles outbreak in Romania has been ongoing since February 2016 and cases continue to be reported despite ongoing response measures that have been implemented at national level through reinforced vaccination activities.

From September 2016 to 17 March 2017, Romania has reported 3 799 cases. In 2016, a number of EU/EEA countries reported measles outbreaks and an increase in the number of cases continues to be observed in 2017. Previous and ongoing measles outbreaks in other EU countries have been epidemiologically linked to the current outbreak in Romania. However, additional knowledge on genotypic characterisation of the virus is needed to allow further insight into the epidemiological investigations.

Figure 1. New measles cases per week of reporting, week 2016- 39 to 2017-11, Romania

Weekly summary
In the EU/EEA Member States, measles cases have been reported in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden as well as in Romania where 3 799 cases have been reported as of 17 March 2017.
Outside of the EU, outbreaks have been detected in Australia, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Republic of South Sudan, Syria and South Africa.
Figure 2. Vaccination status of the cases of measles by age, 17 March 2017

ECDC Assessment
The progress towards elimination of measles in the European Region of WHO is assessed by The European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC). Member States of the WHO European Region are making steady progress
towards the elimination of measles. At the fifth meeting of the RVC for Measles and Rubella in October 2016, of 53 countries in the WHO European Region, 24 (15 of which are in EU/EEA) were declared to have reached the elimination goal for measles, and
an additional 13 countries (nine in EU/EEA) were concluded to have interrupted endemic transmission for less than 36 months, meaning they are on their way to achieving the elimination goal. However, six EU/EEA countries were judged to still have
endemic transmission of measles: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania.
Source: WHO - Europe
ECDC has prepared a Rapid Risk Assessment published on 6 March 2017. ECDC monitors measles transmission and outbreaks in the EU/EEA on weekly basis through enhanced surveillance and epidemic intelligence activities.
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