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Measles in Europe: Nearly nine out of 10 cases reported were unvaccinated

Since Jan. 2016, some 19,000 measles cases were reported in Europe, including 44 deaths ( In 2016, 12 deaths occurred in Romania and one in the UK. In 2017, 31 deaths were reported from Romania [22], Italy [4], Bulgaria [1], Germany [1], Portugal [1], France [1] and Spain [1].)

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The list of countries affected is long with only Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta and Norway not reporting any cases in 2017.

Most heavily affected continue to be Romania ( 9,539 cases, including 34 deaths with more than 7,500 reported in 2017), Italy (4,617 cases, including four deaths this year) and Germany (891 cases in 2017).

Of all measles cases reported across the one-year period 1 September 2016 – 31 August 2017 with known vaccination status, 87% were not vaccinated.

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The latest available figures on vaccination coverage collected by WHO (2016)  show that the vaccination coverage for the first dose of measles was below 95% in 18 of 30 EU/EEA countries; for the second dose of measles, it was below 95% in 20 of 27 EU/EEA countries reporting second dose coverage data.

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According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in order to achieve the measles elimination goal, the vaccination coverage rates for children targeted by routine vaccination programmes should increase in a number of countries, as the vaccination coverage of the second dose must be at least 95% to interrupt measles circulation and achieve herd immunity.

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