Measles is not always being reported in Germany as required by law, particularly when cases are sporadic. In this edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108: 191), Annedore Mette's working group presents its conclusions.
The WHO aims to eliminate measles in Europe by 2015. The criteria for this are for there to be no measles cases among the country's inhabitants, and for any measles arriving from abroad not to spread any further within the country, as a result of the high vaccination rate and compulsory reporting. In their study, Annedore Mette and her coauthors analyzed and evaluated data on measles diagnoses among individuals covered by statutory health insurance. Their goal was to determine the ratio between billed measles diagnoses and data gathered according to Germany's Law on Protection Against Infectious Diseases in North Rhine-Westphalia. The results confirmed that measles was being under-reported. Possible reasons cited by physicians when asked why measles cases were not being reported as required by law included forgetting, lack of habit, uncertainty about the duty to report, lack of time, and complexity.