Measles, mumps, and rubella in Finland: 25 years of a nationwide elimination programme

Lancet Infect Dis. 2008 Dec;8(12):796-803. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(08)70282-2.


A nationwide programme to eliminate indigenous measles, mumps, and rubella, mainly by vaccinating children twice, was launched in Finland in 1982. Strong scientific methods to examine the immunological, clinical, and epidemiological variables have accompanied the programme. Measles was eliminated in 1996, and mumps and rubella in 1997. Now, 25 years from the start of this programme, Finland is facing new challenges. Since elimination, eight, 32, and six cases of measles, mumps, and rubella, respectively, have been reported. Of those, seven cases were failures of mumps vaccinations and one case was a rubella vaccination failure. Although outbreaks have been averted, the risks are increasing because the unvaccinated population is growing, epidemics occur in nearby countries, breakthrough cases arise, and declining antibodies suggest waning immunity. The chances for natural boosters are now at a minimum, and individuals are increasingly protected solely by vaccination. To maintain the absence of these diseases, the adopted policy should continue, but the country should also be prepared for prompt supplementary vaccinations in the case of epidemic outbreaks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Failure


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine