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J Infect Dis. 2011 Jul;204 Suppl 1:S325-34. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir137.

What will it take to achieve measles elimination in the World Health Organization European Region: progress from 2003-2009 and essential accelerated actions.

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  • 1World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark.



The Member States of the European Region (EUR) of the World Health Organization (WHO) have made great progress towards achieving the goal of measles elimination by 2010.


Measles surveillance and vaccine coverage data from 2003-2009 reported to WHO were analyzed. A review of feasibility of reaching the elimination goal by the 2010 target date was conducted in 2009.


From 2003-2009, the measles incidence decreased dramatically and coverage with 2 doses of measles vaccine increased among wide age groups of susceptible persons. With the decrease of disease incidence and the reduction of outbreaks in the eastern part of EUR, the proportion of reported cases in the western part increased. In 2009, outbreaks in 5 countries accounted for 89.6% of reported cases. Challenges to reach the 2010 goal include ongoing outbreaks with reestablished endemicity in some countries, decreased demand for vaccines with an increased focus on the measles vaccine safety, and population groups with limited access to immunization services.


Measles elimination in EUR is attainable, albeit not by 2010. EUR countries should ensure political commitment and resources to protect the gains made to date and address these challenges to sustain the progress and achieve the elimination goal.

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