European monthly measles monitoring, December 2011

Surveillance report
Publication series: Bi-annual measles and rubella monitoring report

ECDC monitors measles transmission in the EU and EEA/EFTA countries and produces monthly epidemiological updates. The European Monthly Measles Monitoring (EMMO) report has two sections. The surveillance section reports officially validated national figures on measles reported by countries to The European Surveillance System (TESSy). The Epidemic Intelligence section reports information from multiple sources including national websites, the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS), TESSy, validated media reports, and personal communication from national authorities. The period covered in the Epidemic Intelligence section will differ between countries, and the number of cases reported should be treated as preliminary data.

Executive summary

The latest European Monthly Measles Monitoring (EMMO) report state that during the period January to November 2011, more than 28,800 cases of measles were reported to The European Surveillance System (TESSy) by the 29 contributing EU and EEA countries.

Other main developents include:

  • Eight measles-related deaths and 26 cases of acute measles encephalitis. The highest incidence was among infants under one year (39.1 cases per 100 000 population)
  • Three out of the 29 reporting countries remained measles free until the end of November 2011, namely Cyprus, Hungary and Iceland.
  • The peak measles transmission period is approaching and the number of new measles cases is expected to start increasing towards the end of January.

Measles, a highly infectious vaccine-preventable disease, is re-emerging in Europe. Countries within the European Region of the World Health Organization, which include EU and EEA/EFTA countries, have committed to eliminate measles by 2015. Elimination of measles requires sustained vaccination coverage above 95% with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine (MCV).

ECDC is monitoring measles transmission in these countries and produces epidemiological updates. The EMMO aims to provide timely public updates on the measles situation in Europe for effective disease control measures, and in support of the common 2015 measles elimination target.