Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access


Outbreaks of measles continue to occur in Italy, as in other European countries. We present here details of cases reported through the Italian enhanced measles surveillance system from July 2009 to September 2010. In total, 2,151 cases were reported, 42% (n=895) of which were laboratory confirmed. The median age of cases was 18 years and 1,709 of 1,856 cases (92%) were unvaccinated. Many cases with complications were reported (n=305), including three with encephalitis. A total of 652 of 1,822 cases (36%) were hospitalised. Molecular characterisation revealed circulation of a limited number of measles virus genotypes (D4, D8 and B3), which is consistent with the current epidemiology of the disease in Italy. A national measles elimination plan was approved in 2003 with the aim of interrupting endemic measles transmission by 2007. Since elimination was not achieved, the target date was recently moved to 2015. The emphasis of the new elimination plan, approved in March 2011, is on strengthening surveillance, implementing evidence based-interventions to increase measles-mumps-rubella vaccine uptake in children, adolescents and young adults, and implementing communication activities related to the vaccine. The strategies proposed by the plan should be implemented fully and appropriately by all regions in order to meet the elimination goal by 2015.


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