Measles and rubella monitoring, February 2013

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

Measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in Europe by 2015. ECDC closely monitors progress towards interruption of endemic transmission of both diseases through enhanced surveillance and epidemic intelligence. Measles and rubella vaccinations are routinely delivered as trivalent measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in Europe, and the first of the two recommended doses is normally given during the second year of life.

Executive summary

8 230 cases of measles were reported in EU/EEA countries in 2012, and rubella cases numbered 27 276. Whilst the number of measles cases is significantly lower than 2011 and 2010 it still continues to exceed the measles elimination target rate of less than one case per million people. The number of rubella cases, on the other hand, has jumped up from the 3 442 cases in the previous year.

This month’s Measles and Rubella monitoring report from ECDC reports on the latest surveillance data drawn from The European Surveillance System and carries analysis on the January to December 2012 period.

Measles cases are unsurprisingly low

The previous two years in EU/EEA countries have had around 30 000 reported cases of measles but in 2012 this number is down to 8 230. Four countries, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom, accounted for 94% of the cases. This drop in measles cases, to pre-outbreak levels, is expected after a large scale outbreak where many of those previously susceptible have developed natural immunity as a result of the disease or supplementary vaccination activities.

Although it is good to see the number of cases in 2012 back to pre-outbreak levels, only twelve countries met the elimination target of less than one case of measles per million population during the last 12 months.

Rubella outbreak

The 26 EU/EEA countries contributing to enhanced rubella surveillance reported 27 276 cases during the last 12-month period (January to December 2012). A number of countries have not reported data for December (and other months); including Romania, which accounts for 76% of all rubella cases for 2012. The outbreak in Poland accounts for a further 23% of cases.