Introduction. Measles continues to be a major public health issue worldwide, with high morbidity and mortality rates. The disease remains endemic in 14 European countries, including Italy where, from 2013 to 2016, over 5,000 cases have been reported. In 2017, many Italian regions, including Sicily, have reported many cases of measles. In this study, we described the latest measles outbreak in the city of Messina, from 1st February to 31st August 2017.
Methods. We considered all reported measles cases that came to the “Public Health, Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine” Operative Unit of the Messina Provincial Health Agency Prevention Department, which receives all reported cases of measles in the Messina province.
Results. From 1st February to 31st August 2017, a total of 59 measles cases were reported, of which 44 were confirmed, nine were classified as possible, four were probable and two cases were discarded. Of the 57 possible, probable and confirmed cases, 31 (54%) were males and 26 (46%) were females. Moreover, 54 (95%) had not been previously vaccinated while the remaining cases had documented evidence of one (two cases) or two doses (one case). Genotype B3 was identified in 39 cases (68%) by the regional reference laboratory in Palermo.
Conclusion. Despite the development of an effective vaccination, unfortunately measles continues to threaten the lives of millions of children worldwide each year. The suboptimal immunisation level in Italy has led to an increase in the transmission of measles with detrimental effects on both public health and ongoing measles elimination efforts.
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