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J Infect. 2013 Mar;66(3):271-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2012.11.012. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

The measles outbreak in the French military forces--2010-2011: results of epidemiological surveillance.

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Centre d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique des Armées, Saint Mandé, France.



Since the start of 2010 there has been a flare-up of measles in France, following on the resurgence observed in 2008. The aim of this study was to present results of the epidemiological surveillance of measles in the French armed forces in metropolitan France and to describe the outbreak that occurred in 2010 and 2011.


Criteria for report were those used for French national compulsory notification. The data, concerning active military personnel, were derived from epidemiological surveillance from 1992 to 2011 for the incidence rates and from notification forms completed in 2010 and 2011 by the military practitioners for the description of characteristics of cases.


Between January 1992 and July 2010, 833 cases of measles were reported. Since 2002, the mean incidence rate had been 1 case p.100,000. A significant increase in incidence was observed in 2010 (10.1 p.100,000) and in 2011 (41.4 p.100,000). Clusters of cases accounted for 72.3% of cases. Rates were much higher among subjects under 30. Only 68.6% of cases had been previously vaccinated with at least one dose of MMR vaccine. The mean vaccine coverage among contacts of cases was approximated to 54.3%.


The outbreak of measles observed in 2010 and 2011 in the French armed forces followed the same pattern as that observed nationally and at European level, and can be seen as the likely consequence of inadequate vaccination coverage.

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