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MEASLES ELIMINATION EFFORTS AND 2008-2011 OUTBREAK, FRANCE
Although few measles cases were reported in France during 2006 and 2007, suggesting the country might have been close to eliminating the disease, a dramatic outbreak of > 20,000 cases occurred during 2008- 2011. Adolescents and young adults accounted for more than half of cases; median patient age increased from 12 to 16 years during the outbreak. The highest incidence rate was observed in children < 1 year of age, reaching 135 cases/100,000 infants during the last epidemic wave. Almost 5,000 patients were hospitalized, including 1,023 for severe pneumonia and 27 for encephalitis/myelitis; 10 patients died. More than 80% of the cases during this period occurred in unvaccinated persons, reflecting heterogeneous vaccination coverage, where pockets of susceptible persons still remain. Although vaccine coverage among children improved, convincing susceptible young adults to get vaccinated remains a critical issue if the target to eliminate the disease by 2015 is to be met.