Vaccine-preventable diseases - Annual epidemiological report for 2012

Surveillance report
Publication series: Annual Epidemiological Report
Time period covered: Surveillance data for 2012

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Annual epidemiological report 2014-vaccine-preventable diseases. Stockholm: ECDC; 2014

The Annual Epidemiological Report 2014 gives an overview of the epidemiology of communicable diseases of public health significance in Europe, drawn from surveillance information on the 52 communicable diseases and health issues for which surveillance is mandatory in the European Union and European Economic Area countries.

Executive summary

In order to facilitate more timely publication, this year’s edition of the Annual Epidemiological Report is being first published a disease group at a time and will later be compiled into one comprehensive report. This report presents the epidemiological situation for vaccine-preventable diseases as of 2012 and describes the statistical and epidemiological methods used.Produced annually, the report is intended for policymakers and health sector leaders, epidemiologists, scientists and the wider public. It is hoped that readers will find it a useful overview and reference to better understand the present situation in relation to communicable diseases in Europe. It should also usefully assist policymakers and health leaders in making evidence-based decisions to plan and improve programmes, services and interventions for preventing, managing and treating these diseases.

Trends in vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe

The Annual Epidemiological Report 2014 for vaccine-preventable diseases provides a snapshot of the epidemiological situation in Europe. The report features data from 2012 and gives an overview of the epidemiology of each disease, some of which are included below:


In 2012, 27 cases of diphtheria were reported across EU/EEA countries, with a notification rate of 0.01 per 100 000 population. Majority of C. diphtheria cases occurred in 45–64 year-olds (n=5), while the most affected age group among cases caused by C. ulcerans cases was the ≥ 65 year-olds.


Mumps is one of the vaccine-preventable diseases that continue to occur across Europe. In EU/EEA countries in 2012, there were 19 061 reported cases of mumps, of these 55% were laboratory confirmed. The notification rate of confirmed cases was 2.91 per 100 000 population. As in previous years, the age group most affected was between 15 and 24 years old.


In 2012, the notification rate of pertussis cases was more than twice as high as in previous years. The overall rate of confirmed cases in 2012 was 10.93 cases per 100 000 population. Young children and adolescents were the most affected age groups. The clinical presentation of pertussis in adolescents and adults can be mild and is often not recognised. This poses a transmission risk to infants who are too young to have completed the primary pertussis vaccination series and who at risk of dying. Hence, vaccination strategies should be revisited in order to ensure protections of infants, and if possible, could include vaccination of pregnant women and adolescent and adult boosters.


The WHO European Region was declared polio-free in 2002; neither wild-type nor vaccine-type associated poliomyelitis cases were reported in EU/EEA countries in 2012. Imported wild-type and vaccine-type polioviruses still remain a threat to unvaccinated European populations. Maintaining high vaccination coverage in all population groups and continued clinical and/or environmental surveillance remain the most important tools for keeping Europe polio-free.

New publication format

The Annual Epidemiological Report is a key ECDC publication on the epidemiology of communicable diseases of public health significance in Europe. To facilitate more timely publication of the annual epidemiological data, the report is being first published by a disease group at a time and will later be compiled into one comprehensive annual report. Easy access to the epidemiological information is encouraged by making available online downloadable data on the main diseases.