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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

News Summary for December 1, 2011

1. Increased Transmission and Outbreaks of Measles — European Region, 2011

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The European Region (EUR) is experiencing increased transmission and outbreaks of measles, primarily due to the failure to vaccinate the susceptible populations. Following 3 years of historic low incidence of measles in the European Region, the number of reported measles cases increased sharply since 2009.  During 2011, 26,074 measles cases with outbreaks in 36 countries have been reported as of October 26, predominantly among older children and adults who were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. Failure to vaccinate the susceptible populations is the primary reason for the increased transmission of measles virus in EUR, which poses a serious challenge to achieving the regional measles elimination goal by 2015.  Eliminating measles in EUR by 2015 will require achieving >95 percent coverage with 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine across a wide age range including adults, implementing effective outbreak control measures, and further strengthening surveillance.

2. Progress in the Introduction of Rotavirus Vaccine — Latin America and the Caribbean, 2006–2010

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In 2010, some 7 million infants or ~66 percent of the infants born in Latin America and the Caribbean were immunized against rotavirus infection, leading to substantial declines in the burden of hospitalizations and deaths from diarrhea in this region. Two effective rotavirus vaccines are now available for protecting children against rotavirus infection, the leading cause of childhood diarrhea, and the World Health Organization recommends these vaccines for all infants worldwide. By 2011, 14 of the 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean had made the vaccine available for all infants through their national immunization program. Studies from countries in this region have shown declines in the burden of hospitalizations and deaths related to severe diarrhea after rotavirus vaccine introduction.  The successful uptake of rotavirus vaccines in these low-income and middle-income countries demonstrates that new vaccines can successfully reach the target populations in a timely manner after introduction.

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