There is a high risk of continued widespread circulation of measles in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in the near future, as long as significant immunity gaps and suboptimal vaccination coverage remain, according to a new report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
A large measles epidemic has affected EU/EEA Member States in the past three years, with 44,074 cases reported by 30 Member States between 1 January 2016 and 31 March 2019, the ECDC noted. Its report assesses the epidemiological profile, proportion of susceptible individuals and vaccination coverage data for measles from each Member State.
In 2017, only four EU/EEA countries achieved the 95 per cent coverage target for two doses of measles-containing vaccine, compared to 14 countries in 2007.
The report lists a number of options to reduce measles risk. The key intervention is ensuring high-quality routine immunisation programmes, reaching 95 per cent coverage at the subnational level.
The ECDC also wants to increase opportunities for checking vaccination status and offer vaccination as appropriate and offer supplementary immunisation activities to close immunity gaps in at-risk populations.
Measles vaccination should be offered and promoted for professions that involve frequent direct contact with others, the report suggests.