Americas region becomes first to eliminate rubella

The New York Times reports that yesterday it was announced that rubella, also known as German measles, “has finally been eliminated from the Americas.” The announcement was made by the Pan American Health Organization “in conjunction with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Unicef and the United Nations Foundation.”

According to the Times, “the Americas region is the first World Health Organization region to eliminate rubella.”

The AP reports that WHO “officials said it has been more than five years since there’s been a German measles case that originated in the Americas.”

In other words, “the only cases in the region are imported from other parts of the world.”

Five years represent “enough time to certify German measles as the third infectious disease to be eliminated from the Americas, they said,” following the elimination of smallpox “in 1971 and polio in 1994.”

TIME points out that the rubella “virus is usually mild, but it can cause birth defects and miscarriages when women are infected during pregnancy.”

But, even though German measles has now been “eliminated in the Americas, it’s still prevalent in other regions in the world.”

Dr. Susan E. Reef, the team leader for rubella in the [CDC’s] Global Immunization Division, said, “Now that we have achieved this goal” of eliminating rubella in the Americas, “the next step is to maintain it.”

This entry was posted in General Health. Bookmark the permalink.