Measles cases mounting in Europe

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According to a World Health Organization brief, continued outbreaks of the measles across Europe have caused the number of confirmed cases to rise to 7,028 in 38 countries as of May 6.

There may be a higher actual case of measles as a result of variations in reporting, which includes France’s reported 7,500 cases in the first three months of 2011, contrasted to the country’s total of 5,090 for all of 2010. Large and extended outbreaks are expected to continue in geographic areas where the coverage of two doses of measles-containing vaccine is below 95 percent.

Twenty-nine percent of the confirmed cases were in people who had received no doses of measles containing vaccines and 67 percent of the cases had been in people with no records or who did not know their vaccination status. Ten member states of the European Union reported measles outbreaks.

Spain has reported two measles outbreaks that began in October. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has reported 636 cases of measles from September through the first week of April, with over 400 diagnosed in 2011. Turkey, Serbia, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Romania, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United Kingdom have also reported outbreaks and an increase in the number of cases.

In nearly all the outbreaks, the D4 genotype of the measles virus was confirmed, except in Grenada, Spain, Turkey.

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