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Emerg Infect Dis. 2001; 7(3 Suppl): 593–597.
PMCID: PMC2631830

Measles outbreak in a community with very low vaccine coverage, the Netherlands.


A 1999-2000 measles epidemic in the Netherlands started with an outbreak in an orthodox reformed elementary school with 7% vaccine coverage. The overall attack rate was 37%: 213 clinical cases among the 255 participating pupils (response 62%) and 327 household members. The attack rate ranged from 0% for the oldest groups of pupils to 88% for the youngest, who had not been exposed in previous measles epidemics. None of 25 vaccinated pupils had clinical symptoms. Among pupils with clinical symptoms, the self-reported complication rate was 25%. These data confirm that measles infection causes severe disease and that vaccination is the most effective means of preventing the disease and its complications. The data also show that clusters of persons refraining from vaccination interfere with measles elimination even in populations with very high overall vaccine coverage (96%).

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Selected References

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