Measles and rubella
Measles, a highly infectious vaccine-preventable disease, remains one of the leading causes of childhood mortality, leading to an estimated 450 deaths each day worldwide. Rubella is an infection that is usually mild when experienced in childhood; but it can often lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications in the foetus when an unprotected woman acquires the infection early in pregnancy (congenital rubella infection) or to congenital rubella syndrome in newborns.
Measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) are preventable through immunization. All countries in the WHO European Region include highly effective and safe measles and rubella vaccines in their vaccination programmes; however, due to persistent gaps in immunization coverage outbreaks of measles and rubella continue to occur.
WHO/Europe places a high priority on eliminating measles and rubella from the Region by 2015. To this end, a "Package for accelerated action" was presented to the Region’s ministers of health on 18 September 2013, outlining stepped-up actions to be taken by WHO, Member States and other partners in order to reach this goal.