Recurrence of measles in central Italy: the experience of a hospital in Rome

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Andrea Petrucca
Antonella Alari
Styliani Papadopoulou
Crisitina Petrucci
Iolanda Santino *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Iolanda Santino |


Measles continue to be a major public health issue worldwide with high morbidity and mortality rates. The disease is still endemic in Europe and during 2017 a vast outbreak was described in Italy, Romania and Hungary, which led to thousands of new cases and several deaths. In Italy, 3931 confirmed cases of measles were reported to the Italian national surveillance system from many Italian administrative regions; Lazio, in central Italy, exhibited the highest number of infected patients 1322 (33.63%) and as well as the highest incidence. In this study, we describe the results of a retrospective analysis, carried out during 2016 and 2017, concerning the measles antibody prevalence in patients and healthcare workers attending the Sant’Andrea Hospital of Rome (Lazio). A total of 94 patients (median 30 years of age) were screened in 2016, and 316 (median 40 years of age) during 2017, with an increase of 236% compared to previous year. During 2017, 41 confirmed cases of measles were reported while none in 2016 (P<0.007), and we found a suboptimal immunization coverage in our cohort of patients. Furthermore, measles surveillance of Sant’Andrea healthcare workers during the study period involved 208 personnel units (median >47 years of age) and only one confirmed measles infection was recorded in 2017. These results suggest that there is still an unvaccinated portion of the adult population, who sustain the endemic circulation of measles in Italy. In addition to reach herd immunization on children of 2 years old, catch-up vaccination campaign targeting adult population in Italy and other European countries needs to be implemented to prevent future measles outbreak.

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