Published: 09.02.05 Updated: 09.02.2005 18:14:21


Measles is a notifiable disease in the entire region. Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Sweden report both laboratory confirmed cases and cases epidemiologically linked to a laboratory confirmed case.

Lithuania reports laboratory confirmed cases and cases with a typical clinical picture without laboratory confirmation. Finland, Iceland and Northwest Russia report only laboratory confirmed cases.

Figure 23. Number of cases of measles notified in 2003 per 100 000 population (1).


Measles vaccination was introduced in the region in the early 1970s. Due to very high vaccination coverage in the entire region, measles has for many years been a rare disease. Sporadic cases are, however still reported. In the Nordic countries small outbreaks have been reported in groups of non-vaccinated children. Non-immune children living in communities where general opposition to vaccination is widespread are at special risk if a case of measles is introduced in the community.


Vaccination with coverage above 95%, either as a separate measles vaccine or as part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, is the best measure to prevent sporadic cases and outbreaks of measles. Measles vaccine is part of the national vaccination programme in all the countries in the region. A combined measles-mumps vaccine has recently been introduced in Russia. High vaccination coverage has been achieved in the entire region.