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Since January 2016, a resurgence of measles in Romania has led to the third measles epidemic in the past 12 years; 64 deaths have been confirmed so far–the highest number of measles-related deaths since the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was introduced in 2004.


To provide an overview on the characterisation on measles in Romania after the introduction of the MMR vaccine with focus on the current outbreak, laboratory and molecular analysis.


We performed an analysis of measles incidence and mortality after the introduction of MMR vaccination and a retrospective study using serological and molecular data in three consecutive outbreaks with focus on the current outbreak.


In the current outbreak, 17,533 measles cases were notified to the national surveillance system, 93% were unvaccinated. Measles virus was isolated from 429 samples and 283 were genotyped. Genotype B3 was predominant (n = 269) and sporadic measles cases associated with D8 genotype (n = 9) were also observed; genotype D4 and D8 were identified in the previous two measles outbreaks. The detection of several distinct measles virus B3 genotypes suggests multiple virus importations to Romania.


The current outbreak is a consequence of insufficient vaccine coverage. Control measures were implemented to improve uptake of MMR vaccine, including administering the first MMR dose at a younger age (9–11 months) and offering catch-up vaccination to children that have not followed the recommended dosing schedule. More measures are needed to improve the surveillance performance and to achieve high routine MMR vaccination coverage.


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