Measles and rubella surveillance for 2017

Surveillance report
Publication series: Annual Epidemiological Report
Time period covered: January - December 2017

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Measles and rubella surveillance – 2017. Stockholm: ECDC; 2018.

The annual report on measles and rubella for 2017 is based on surveillance data retrieved from the European Surveillance System (TESSy) on 28 February 2018.

Executive summary


  • In 2017, the EU/EEA experienced a resurgence of measles with several outbreaks and 37 fatalities. 
  • Twenty-eight EU/EEA countries reported 14 600 measles cases which translates into an overall incidence of 28.3 cases per million population. Sixty-one percent of these cases were laboratory confirmed. 
  • Most cases (>75%) were reported during the first half of the year with a peak in March followed by fewer cases until the end of the year. This pattern is similar to previous years.
  • The highest numbers of cases were reported by Romania (5 608), Italy (5 098), Greece (967) and Germany (929). Latvia and Malta reported zero cases in 2017. 
  • The countries with the highest notification rates were Romania (283.8 cases per million), Greece (89.7 cases per million), Italy (84.0 cases per million) and Belgium (32.5 cases per million).
  • Adults aged ≥20 years (38% of all cases) and children aged <5 years (37%) were the most affected. The highest incidences, 365.9 and 164.4 cases per million population, were observed in children aged <1 year and 1‒4 years respectively.
  • The majority of cases occurred in unvaccinated individuals, and the proportion of those unvaccinated ranged from 72% in 25‒29 year-olds, to 96% in children aged <1 year, who are too young to receive the vaccination.


  • In 2017, 11 EU/EEA countries reported 696 rubella cases, which represented a marked decrease from 1 264 and 2 161 cases reported in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Seventeen countries reported zero cases in 2017.
  • Poland reported 71% of all reported cases and had the highest incidence (30.1 cases per million), however, only 1% of the 469 cases were laboratory confirmed. Forty-seven percent of cases in Poland occurred in children aged <5 years.