Over 22,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe since the start of 2014, so although measles cases have fallen by 50% since 2013, large outbreaks still occur. Over the past two decades, the number of measles cases in Europe has fallen by 96% but WHO is warning that the region is jeopardising its efforts at complete elimination.
The 22,000 cases came from seven countries, including Italy and Germany, where there are pockets of susceptible people who are un- or under-immunised, partly because of barriers to accessing vaccinations, and partly because growing numbers of parents are refusing to vaccinate their children.
In order to control the current outbreaks, all countries must:
- Improve their ability to detect and investigate all suspected cases
- Identify chains of transmissions
- Make high-quality, evidence-based information available to the public on the benefits and risks associated with immunisation
To support European countries in these efforts, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has launched a new European Vaccine Action Plan (EVAP) and offers information on measles and rubella on its website, including reports of epidemiological data, a package of accelerated action for measles and rubella elimination and a framework for verifying the elimination process.
To read more about the seven affected countries, click here on www.euro.who.int
To read more about the European Vaccine Action Plan, click here on www.euro.who.int