Measles outbreaks in Europe continue to escalate - July 2011


As measles continues to spread in Europe and in Ireland parents are urged to ensure children and teenagers are fully immunised against measles with the MMR vaccine.

Since the start of 2011 more than 21 000 cases were reported in EU and EEA/EFTA countries. Most cases are either un- or incompletely immunised individuals.

In France there is a huge ongoing outbreak which accounts for more than half of the reported cases in 2011. Six deaths, 14 neurological complications and 444 cases with severe pneumonia have been reported. Large outbreaks are also being reported from Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, UK and Italy.

In Ireland an increase in measles has been noted, mainly in the Eastern region of the country.

Mass gathering events such as the upcoming World Youth Day in Madrid in August 2011 poses a risk to susceptible participants who may be exposed to measles while there and bring it home with them, spreading the disease to others.

Two doses of MMR vaccine are routinely recommended for children;

  • The first dose at 12 months of age and the second at 4-5 years.
  • Unvaccinated older children, teenagers and young adults should get it to protect against measles.

For more information relating to MMR please see recent guidance

For more information: