An outbreak of measles in the Netherlands in 2013-2014 provided an opportunity to assess the effect of MMR vaccination on severity and infectiousness of measles.Measles is notifiable in the Netherlands. We used information on vaccination, hospitalisation, complications, and most likely source(s) of infection from cases notified during the outbreak. When a case was indicated as a likely source for at least one other notified case, we defined it as infectious. We estimated the age-adjusted effect of vaccination on severity and infectiousness with logistic regression.Of 2676 notified cases, 2539 (94.9%) were unvaccinated, 121 (4.5%) were once-vaccinated and 16 (0.6%) were at least twice-vaccinated; 328 (12.3%) cases were reported to have complications and 172 (6.4%) cases were hospitalised. Measles in twice-vaccinated cases led less often to complications and/or hospitalisation than measles in unvaccinated cases (0% and 14.5%, respectively, aOR 0.1 (95% CI 0-0.89), P = 0.03). Of unvaccinated, once-vaccinated and twice-vaccinated cases, respectively, 194 (7.6%), seven (5.1%) and 0 (0%) were infectious. These differences were not statistically significant (P > 0.05).Our findings suggest a protective effect of vaccination on the occurrence of complications and/or hospitalisation as a result of measles and support the WHO recommendation of a two-dose MMR vaccination schedule.
Keywords: Disease outbreaks; infectious disease transmission; measles; measles-mumps-rubella vaccine; vaccination.