Spread of measles virus D4-Hamburg, Europe, 2008-2011.
- Clinical and Applied Virology
A new strain of measles virus, D4-Hamburg, was imported from London to Hamburg in December 2008 and subsequently spread to Bulgaria, where an outbreak of >24,300 cases was observed. We analyzed spread of the virus to demonstrate the importance of addressing hard-to-reach communities within the World Health Organization European Region regarding access to medical care and vaccination campaigns. The D4-Hamburg strain appeared during 2009-2011 in Poland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Austria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, Switzerland, and Belgium and was repeatedly reimported to Germany. The strain was present in Europe for >27 months and led to >25,000 cases in 12 countries. Spread of the virus was prevalently but not exclusively associated with travel by persons in the Roma ethnic group; because this travel extends beyond the borders of any European country, measures to prevent the spread of measles should be implemented by the region as a whole.