Progress Toward Regional Measles Elimination — Worldwide, 2000–2021

Anna A. Minta, MD; Matt Ferrari, PhD; Sebastien Antoni, MPH; Allison Portnoy, ScD; Alyssa Sbarra, MPH; Brian Lambert; Sarah Hauryski; Cynthia Hatcher, MPH; Yoann Nedelec, MPH; Deblina Datta, MD; Lee Lee Ho, MPH; Claudia Steulet, MPH; Marta Gacic-Dobo, MSc; Paul A. Rota, PhD; Mick N. Mulders, PhD; Anindya S. Bose, MD; William A. Perea; Patrick O'Connor, MD


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2022;71(47):1489-1495. 

In This Article

Surveillance Performance and Reported Measles Incidence

WHO's Global Measles and Rubella Laboratory Network (GMRLN) supports countries in providing standardized quality-controlled laboratory testing for measles and rubella. Among the 135 (70%) countries that reported discarded cases, 47 (35%) achieved the sensitivity indicator target of two or more discarded cases per 100,000 population in 2021, compared with 45 (31%) of 143 countries reporting in 2020. In 2021, GMRLN laboratories received 122,735 specimens for measles testing compared with 122,116 specimens in 2020.

Countries report the number of incident measles cases to WHO and UNICEF annually, using the Joint Reporting Form.¶¶ During 2000–2016, the number of reported measles cases decreased by 84%, from 853,479 to 132,490. Reported measles cases peaked at 873,022 in 2019, then declined to 159,073 in 2020, and 123,981 in 2021. From 2000 to 2016, annual measles incidence decreased 88%, from 145 cases per 1 million population to 18; measles incidence then increased to 120 cases per million in 2019 and decreased 82% to 21 in 2020 and 22% to 17 in 2021. In 2021, 22 countries in two WHO regions were affected by large and disruptive outbreaks***; 18 (82%) outbreaks occurred in countries in the African Region and four (18%) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (Supplementary Table,

Genotypes detected from measles cases††† were reported by 27 (33%) of the 82 countries reporting at least one measles case in 2021, compared with 45 (39%) of 115 countries reporting at least one measles case in 2020. The number of genotypes detected decreased from 13 in 2002 to six in 2014, three in 2020, and two in 2021. A total of 1,615 sequences were reported in 2020; among 648 reported sequences in 2021, 221 (34%) were D8 and 426 (66%) were B3.

¶¶Only countries that reported data are in the numerator and denominator. Countries do not provide WHO with their reasons for not reporting measles cases. (Accessed September 20, 2022).
***The IA2030 global monitoring framework defines large and disruptive outbreaks as having at least 20 cases per 1 million population.
†††Data as of September 20, 2022.