Despite the effective National Immunization Programme of Slovakia, some population groups are incompletely vaccinated or unvaccinated. We aimed to describe the measles outbreak spread in Eastern Slovakia between May and October 2018, affecting the Roma communities in relation to the existing immunity gaps.


We defined a group of persons living in socially closed communities with low vaccination coverage.


Of 439 measles cases (median age: 10 years), 264 (60.1%) were vaccinated, 137 (31.2%) received two doses and 127 (28.9%) one dose of measles vaccines, 155 (35.3%) were unvaccinated and 20 (4.6%) had an unknown vaccination status. Samples from 102 patients (with two-dose vaccination status) were additionally tested for antibodies against rubella and mumps. Of 102 cases, 68 (66.7%) cases had a positive IgM and 23 (22.5 %) IgG antibodies against measles. For rubella, only 20 (19.6%) cases had seropositive IgG levels, for mumps higher positivity was detected in 60 persons (58.8%). We could detect only a small percentage with positive serology results of rubella IgG antibodies across all age groups. We have assumed that rubella antibodies had to be produced following the vaccination. Their absence in the cases with two doses of MMR suggests that these vaccines could not have been administrated despite the fact that this data was included in the medical records. Sequential analysis of two samples showed measles genotype B3.


This outbreak can outline the existence of a vulnerable group of the Roma. Low vaccinate coverage represents a serious public health threat.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Hygiene and Environmental Medicine