Measles outbreaks in Europe – update

29 May 2018

Article: 52/2101

On 18 May 2018, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported that transmission of measles continues across Europe.

Within the European Union:

  • Austria has reported 43 cases from 1 January to 4 May 2018
  • Bulgaria has reported four cases, up to 13 May 2018
  • the Czech Republic has reported 103 cases between 1 January and 30 March 2018. The majority of cases were reported in Prague and more than half of the cases were not vaccinated
  • France reported 2,173 cases from 1 January to 13 May 2018. Nearly half of the case total has been reported from the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. Highest incidence is in the very young and most are unvaccinated
  • Finland has reported three cases, up to 17 May 2018
  • Germany has reported 176 cases from 1 January to 21 April 2018
  • Greece has reported 1,948 cases (including two deaths) from 1 January to 17 May 2018. Most cases are in southern Greece among Roma children and young Greek adults. An increase of cases in northern Greece has also been observed
  • Hungary has reported 16 cases, as of 6 May 2018
  • Ireland has reported 72 cases from 1 January to 12 May 2018
  • Italy has reported 805 cases (including two deaths) between 1 January and 31 March 2018. Among the cases there were 38 healthcare professionals. More than 87% of cases were from Sicily, Lazio, Campania, Calabria and Lombardy. Most cases were unvaccinated (92%) or had received only one vaccine (2%)
  • Poland has reported 44 cases from 1 January to 30 April 2018
  • Portugal has reported 111 cases from 1 January to 8 April 2018, nearly all in the north of the country. All but one case are adults and 79 of them are healthcare professionals
  • Romania has reported 2,712 cases (including 15 deaths) from 1 January to 11 May 2018
  • the UK has reported 440 cases from 1 January to 9 May, 2018. Fifty-four percent of cases are aged over 15 years

Neighbouring countries outside the European Union:

  • According to media reports, Albania has reported over 600 cases up to 25 April 2018
  • Belarus has reported 67 cases from 1 January to 25 March 2018
  • Georgia has reported 517 cases from 1 January to 19 April 2018
  • Russia has reported 843 cases from 1 January to 31 March 2018
  • Serbia has reported 5,167 cases (including 15 deaths) from October 2017 to 10 May 2018
  • According to media reports, Turkey has reported 44 cases up to 30 March 2018
  • Ukraine has reported 15,261 cases (including eight deaths) from 1 January to 15 May 2018. Sixty percent of cases are adults. The majority of cases have been reported in Chenivetsk, Ivano-Frakivsk, Zakarpatie, Lviv and Odessa regions.

Advice for healthcare professionals

Travel may increase an individual’s risk of exposure to measles virus, and facilitate the spread of disease to unvaccinated and susceptible populations. The travel consultation provides healthcare practitioners with a valuable opportunity to ensure individuals are protected against the measles virus. Consider vaccinating:

  • all travellers who have not previously had two doses of a measles containing vaccine or prior measles infection
  • children and those who will be living or working closely with the local population at their destination, in countries with high endemnicity or recent outbreaks

Further information and advice for clinicians advising travellers can be accessed on TRAVAX.

Advice for travellers

It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-13 months of age and again pre-school around three years four months. Consider vaccinating all unimmunised adults who have not had the disease themselves, particularly if they are going to be at higher risk. Two doses of MMR vaccine, at least one month apart, are required to give adequate protection.