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Measles outbreak in Italy

Question écrite de Mme Stefania ZAMBELLI - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Stefania ZAMBELLI,

Diffusée le 10 avril 2024

Subject: Measles outbreak in Italy

There was a recent significant spike in the measles epidemic in Italy as 2024 got into its stride, according to data published by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health in Italy). With 213 confirmed cases in the first three months of the year, of which 85% were positive, the Italian health authorities remain vigilant regarding the possible escalation of the epidemic, especially in view of the summer months.

Most reported cases concern unvaccinated individuals, with a median age among the infected of 31 years and a particularly high incidence in the 0-4 years old age group. There are also concerns about cases of complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, especially considering that the epidemic appears to affect mainly unvaccinated individuals or individuals who have only had a single dose.

According to experts, a decisive intervention by the Italian national health service would be required in order to promote vaccination as an essential tool to protect against measles.

In the light of this emergency, can the Commission take concrete measures and answer the following:

1. What action does it intend to take to support Italy and the European Union in addressing the measles epidemic?

2. How will it strengthen cooperation between Member States to ensure an effective and coordinated response at EU level?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 5 juin 2024

Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission (6 June 2024)

The Commission is aware of ongoing outbreaks of measles, a vaccine-preventable disease, in Europe. Member States’ response to serious cross-border health threats, including measles, is coordinated in the Health Security Committee.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) publishes monthly surveillance data on measles submitted by the 30 European Economic Area countries and monitors measles outbreaks through epidemic intelligence, reporting weekly in the Communicable Disease Threat Reports (1). The ECDC Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Diseases tool provides data on measles outbreaks in Member States (2).

To further coordinate Member States’ response to preventable diseases, including measles, the Commission has established a subgroup on vaccination under its Public Health Expert Group (3).

The subgroup met on 18 April 2024 and discussed options for national health authorities to increase the uptake of the measles- containing vaccine (4). The Commission is also promoting measles vaccination through its #UnitedInProtection campaign (5).

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