Europe close to eliminating measles and rubella

Thirty-two countries in the European Region have interrupted transmission of endemic measles and/or rubella, according to the conclusions of the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC), released inApril 2016.

The independent RVC assesses Member States’ progress towards elimination of measles and rubella by reviewing epidemiological and laboratory surveillance data submitted by each country’s national verification committee, now established in 50 of the 53 Member States.

Once a country has demonstrated the absence of endemic measles or rubella virus transmission for at least 36 consecutive months, the RVC can verify that the disease has been eliminated. 32 countries interrupted transmission of endemic measles and/or rubella in 2014,  21 Member States had eliminated measles and 20 had eliminated rubella within their borders during the period 2012–2014.

For more information about Measles and Rubella Elimination in each country from the website

Europe needs to scale up measles vaccinations

Over 22,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe since the start of 2014, so although measles cases have fallen by 50% since 2013, large outbreaks still occur. Over the past two decades, the number of measles cases in Europe has fallen by 96% but WHO is warning that the region is jeopardising its efforts at complete elimination.

The 22,000 cases came from seven countries, including Italy and Germany, where there are pockets of susceptible people who are un- or under-immunised, partly because of barriers to accessing vaccinations, and partly because growing numbers of parents are refusing to vaccinate their children.

In order to control the current outbreaks, all countries must:

  • Improve their ability to detect and investigate all suspected cases
  • Identify chains of transmissions
  • Make high-quality, evidence-based information available to the public on the benefits and risks associated with immunisation

To support European countries in these efforts, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has launched a new European Vaccine Action Plan (EVAP) and offers information on measles and rubella on its website, including reports of epidemiological data, a package of accelerated action for measles and rubella elimination and a framework for verifying the elimination process.

To read more about the seven affected countries, click here   on

To read more about the European Vaccine Action Plan, click here on