The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that more than 41,000 children and adults in the WHO European Region were infected with measles during the first 6 months of 2018, with reports indicating that at least 37 people died following measles infection during this period.
The WHO had previously reported that measles had rebounded in Europe; following a record low of 5273 measles infections in 2016, there was a fourfold increase in 2017, with 23,927 infections. Between January and June 2018, more than 41,000 infections were reported; this number far exceeds the annual total for every year since 2010.
Seven countries in the WHO European Region have reported over 1000 infections during this 6-month period: France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian Federation, Serbia, and Ukraine. The highest number of infections has been in Ukraine, with over 23,000 people affected, and the highest number of measles-related deaths has been in Serbia, with 14 deaths reported.
In addition to measures to reach those who have previously missed vaccinations, at least 95% immunisation coverage with 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine is needed every year in every community in order to prevent outbreaks. The WHO has called on all countries to immediately implement "broad, context-appropriate measures to stop further spread of this disease".
Preventable by immunisation but high levels of coverage are required to prevent outbreaks of disease from occurring.
No specific treatment for measles is available except for supportive care.
Complications of measles are more common in immunocompromised and poorly nourished individuals and include pneumonia, laryngotracheitis, otitis media, and encephalitis.
Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by measles virus, characterised by a maculopapular rash, cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, and a pathognomonic enanthem (Koplik's spots) with an incubation period of about 10 days.
Professor of Pediatrics
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center
EB has received grant funding to her institution for participation in clinical trials for PaxVax oral cholera vaccine. She has received royalties for writing for UptoDate (evaluation of newly arrived immigrants), AAP (parasitic disease treatment), and Elsevier (Immigrant Medicine). EB has received honoraria for consultancy for HostTherabiomics (travellers' diarrhoea), for speaking for Spire Learning (diarrhea), and for other CME talks (diarrhoea, vaccines).
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
West Virginia University School of Medicine
LN is an author of a reference cited in this topic.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Associate Residency Program Director
University of Chicago
AS declares that she has no competing interests.
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