In light of newly released measles data for 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged European countries to target their vaccination interventions to the places and groups where immunisation gaps persist.
Measles has been attributed to the deaths of 72 children and adults in the European Region in 2018, with a total 82,596 people in 47 of 53 countries contracting measles last year, according to the latest data.
In countries reporting hospitalisation data, 61 per cent of measles cases were hospitalised in 2018.
The total number of people infected with measles in 2018 was the highest this decade at three times the total reported in 2017 and 15 times the record low numbers in 2016.
The surge in measles cases in 2018 followed a year when the European Region achieved its highest ever estimated coverage for the second dose of measles vaccine (90 per cent in 2017). Coverage with the first dose of the vaccine also increased slightly to 95 per cent, the highest level since 2013.
However, vaccination progress in the region has been uneven between and within countries, leaving increasing clusters of susceptible individuals unprotected, resulting in a record number of people affected by measles in 2018, said the WHO.