Measles cases in Europe, January-June 2018



More than 40,000 children and adults in Europe were infected with measles during the first six months of the year. That is compared to 23,927 during all of 2017.

The figures were released by the World Health Organization on 20 August.

An international assessment “expressed concerns about inadequate disease surveillance and low immunization coverage in some countries,” according to a WHO press release.

Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, stated in the announcement:

“We call on all countries to immediately implement broad, context-appropriate measures to stop further spread of this disease. Good health for all starts with immunization, and as long as this disease is not eliminated we are failing to live up to our Sustainable Development Goal commitments.”

Dr Pauline Paterson, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, was quoted by the Guardian as saying:

“While most people vaccinate, some individuals do not. The reasons for non-vaccination can vary from issues of vaccine access, a lack of perceived need to vaccinate, and concerns around the safety of vaccination – in 2016 the Vaccine Confidence Project found that the European region was the most sceptical in the world on vaccine safety.”

Seven countries reported having more than 1,000 cases each between January and June 2018: France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine. 37 deaths were recorded: 14 in Serbia, 8 in Ukraine, 4 in Italy, 3 in Romania, and 2 each in France, Georgia and Russia.

Luxembourg has reported one “imported case” so far this year. The grand duchy had a total of four measles cases in 2017.