Measles and rubella monitoring, July 2012

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

The ECDC measles and rubella monitoring report presents regular updates on measles and rubella transmission in Europe based on reporting from EU and EEA/EFTA countries and ECDC epidemic intelligence activities. This enhanced surveillance report supports efforts by EU Member States and international partners to eliminate measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in EU and the WHO region of Europe by 2015.

Executive summary

This month’s ECDC measles monitoring report shows that the number of reported measles cases is much lower in 2012 compared to the same period last year. From January to May 2012, 3 570 cases were reported. In the same period last year, 16 489 cases were notified. Given the cyclical nature of the disease, this is unsurprising and should not lead to complacency regarding elimination efforts. In addition to measles, ECDC has included rubella in its monthly monitoring report. Both measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in Europe in 2015, and vaccinations are routinely delivered as a trivalent measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Infection with the rubella virus during pregnancy, especially during the first three months, carries a very high risk of foetal malformations, a condition referred to as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Prevention of congenital infections is the main reason for targeting rubella for elimination through routine vaccination of children and women of childbearing age. 

On measles

In the 12-month period leading up to May 2012, 12 594 measles cases were reported. In the same period, the highest notification rate was among infants under one year (26.4 cases per 100 000 population), followed by children between ages one and four years (13.4 cases per 100 000 population). There were no fatal cases reported in the last 12 months.  

On rubella

In the 12-month period leading up to May 2012, 22 124 rubella cases were reported from 25 EU Member States and countries of the European Economic Area.  Poland and Romania accounted for 99 percent of the cases. The European monthly measles monitoring report (EMMO) has been renamed measles and rubella monitoring. This report covers enhanced surveillance data and epidemic intelligence information for both diseases. From this issue onwards, measles and rubella data will be presented for the most recent 12-month period. This change should be considered when comparing with data presented by calendar year in the previous measles monitoring reports.