In a follow-up on the ongoing measles outbreak in Romania, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports from September 2016 to 17 February 2017 the Romanian National Institute of Public Health received reports of 3 071 cases of measles.
Despite efforts to get the outbreak under control (lowered the age for administering the first vaccine dose from the usual 12 months to nine months and recommended that all children up to nine years of age are vaccinated) the outbreak continues.
To date, 16 deaths have been reported, all of which occurred in persons who were immunocompromised or had other co-morbidities.
Cases have been reported in 36 districts with the districts of Caras Severin (n=703), Arad (n=617) and Timis (n=566) having reported the highest number of cases.
The Romania outbreak has tentacles and has affected other countries in the European Union, according to the ECDC.
Two examples include:
In Belgium, between 20 December 2016 and 24 February 2017, 75 cases, of which 30 were laboratory confirmed, were reported in the region of Wallonia. Five cases were among healthcare workers. All cases were infected with a genotype B3 strain, the same strain that was reported to have circulated in Austria, Italy and Romania at the end of 2016. The index case visited Romania during the incubation period.
In Austria, a cluster of nine cases was reported between the last week of 2016 and 1 February 2017, the index case had traveled to Romania during the incubation period and had contact with a measles case. The genotype identified in eight cases was B3-4741 (measles RNA positive samples were genotyped at the National Reference Laboratory for measles at the Clinical Institute of virology, Medical University Vienna).
From 1 February 2016 to 31 January 2017, 4,484 measles cases were reported in 22 out of 30 EU/European Economic Area (EEA) countries and multiple outbreaks were identified.
Six European countries are considered measles endemic-Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania.