Lower incidence of rubella and higher concentration of measles cases in the European Region in 2015

Rubella cases decreased by 64% in 2015 compared with 2014, mostly as a result of a decline of reports of the disease in Poland, the country in the Region with the highest number of cases for the past several years.

Measles in the Region in 2015 was characterized by the occurrence of large-scale outbreaks that started in 2014 and continued into 2015 in several countries. However, the large majority (88%) of the 30 762 cases for 2015 were reported in just four countries, with 58% reported in Kyrgyzstan alone. Based on population size, the highest incidence was reported in Kyrgyzstan (2993 per 1 million population) followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan and Georgia.

An overview and analysis of epidemiological data on measles and rubella in the Region in 2015 was released today in the latest WHO EpiBrief, issue number 1/2016.

Measles and rubella transmission interrupted in most European countries

The European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) verified at its meeting in October 2015 that 32 countries in the European Region had interrupted transmission of endemic measles and/or rubella as of the end of 2014. Of these, 21 had eliminated measles and 20 had eliminated rubella within their borders during the entire period 2012–2014. High-quality surveillance to detect cases and monitor chains of virus transmission and very high immunization coverage (≥ 95%) with two doses of vaccine against measles and rubella were essential to attain this goal.