Measles cases increase significantly in the last month in a number of EU/EEA countries

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Measles cases continue to increase in a number of EU/EEA countries. The highest number of cases to date in 2018 were in Romania (1 709), Greece (1 463) France (1 346) and Italy (411) respectively.

Thirteen deaths have also been reported by these countries in 2018. Although cases in Romania and Greece remain high, of particular concern is the situation in France and Italy, with cases almost tripling in France since the previous update in March, and more than doubling in Italy. This is according to the most recent measles data collected by ECDC through epidemic intelligence and published in the Communicable Diseases Threats Report (CDTR) today.

In the 12-month period between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2018, 14 813 cases of measles were reported to ECDC through the European Surveillance System which is detailed in ECDC’s monthly measles and rubella monitoring report also published today. Of these cases where age was known, 35% were in children under five and 47% were in those 15 and older. Where vaccination status was known, 86% were unvaccinated.

In order to reach elimination and protect those most vulnerable to severe complications and death from measles such as infants, 95% coverage of the population vaccinated with two doses of measles-containing-vaccine is needed. Vaccination coverage was below 95% in 22 out of 29 EU/EEA countries for the second dose of a measles-containing vaccine according to the most recent data collected (WHO 2016), showing that further sustained action is needed.

The data further showed the high proportion of cases among young adults who may have missed vaccination highlighting the need for them to check their vaccination status and get vaccinated if needed.