Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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This study describes 33 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles that occurred in Norway in 2011, mainly among unvaccinated children between seven months and 10 years of age. Laboratory testing included detection of anti-measles IgM- and IgG antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and molecular detection and characterisation of measles virus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing. Epidemiological data and genotyping revealed that the measles cases originated from eight separate importations, resulting in four outbreaks and four sporadic cases. Except for the first outbreak which affected 18 cases, limited secondary spread occurred in each of the three other outbreaks. The outbreaks were caused by measles virus genotypes B3, D4 and D9, whereas genotypes D8 and B3 were detected in the sporadic cases. This study highlights that genetic characterisation of measles virus is an essential tool in the laboratory surveillance of measles, especially in countries like Norway which are approaching the measles elimination goal. The investigation revealed that importation of measles resulted in subsequent transmission within Norway to non-vaccinated individuals, and twelve cases occurred in healthcare settings, involving both staff and children. The four cases detected among healthcare workers (HCWs) emphasised that the coverage of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination among healthcare personnel needs to be improved and both primary and secondary vaccine failure was demonstrated in two fully immunised HCWs.


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