European countries reported 7,178 cases of measles last year, according to a new report by the European Centre for Disease Surveillance – the EU agency aimed at strengthening Europe’s defences against infectious diseases. .
Of the cases notified to the authorities by the 32 countries in the EUVAC.net (an EU-wide network devoted to information on vaccines and vaccination), just five countries accounted for 91% of patients. Bulgaria reported 31% of the total while France recorded 22%. Switzerland, the UK and Germany also reported large volumes of cases.
10% of cases were infants, 22% were aged between one and four years, 50% were aged between five and 19. Almost one fifth (18%) were 20 years or older.
Over 77% of those whose vaccination status was known had not received a measles vaccine.
A total of 10 measles deaths were recorded with six people dying of pulmonary complications and four dying from acute encephalitis.
“As expected, the majority of measles cases occurred in unvaccinated [individuals],” the report says.
“The sharp increase in number of measles cases in some EUVAC.NET-participating countries remains of great concern in relation to the measles elimination goal by 2010. The commitment to eliminate measles in Europe needs to be strengthened by increasing vaccination coverage with two doses of measles vaccines to a WHO recommended minimum of 95%.”
To read the full report, click here