The Americas region has eliminated rubella, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced yesterday, following a 15-year effort anchored by vaccination campaigns.
An international review committee last week found no sign of endemic transmission of rubella or congenital rubella syndrome (CRS)—also known as German measles—for 5 consecutive years—exceeding the 3-year requirement for declaring elimination of the disease. Before mass rubella immunization, about 16,000 to 20,000 children in the region were born with CRS-related birth defects each year, PAHO estimates.
"The fight against rubella has taken more than 15 years, but it has paid off with what I believe will be one of the most important Pan American public health achievements of the 21st century," said Carissa Etienne, MD, PAHO director. "Now it's time to roll up our sleeves and finish the job of eliminating measles, as well," she added.