Despite the recommendation of childhood MMR vaccination in Switzerland, an outbreak in Geneva has occurred, targeting mainly adults and almost exclusively affecting individuals of inadequate immunization. Geneva and its surrounding French border region are unusually susceptible to contagious diseases such as measles because of the continual movement of international visitors and existence of cultural groups that discourage routine vaccination. In turn, Switzerland is a frequent source of measles import to the United States.
This report follows one published by ProMED in 2009 concerning an outbreak in Switzerland that had only reached 50 cases by February, in contrast to this year’s count exceeding 2000 cases. Swiss health officials are emphasizing continued vaccination on the recommended schedule (2 vaccinations, at 12 months and at 15-24 months) and isolation of infected and exposed persons at home.