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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


HINMAN, Alan R.; HERSH, Bradley S.  and  QUADROS, Ciro A. de. Rational use of rubella vaccine for prevention of congenital rubella syndrome in the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.4, n.3, pp.-. ISSN 1680-5348.

Rubella is a viral disease with minor morbidity and few complications unless it is contracted by a pregnant woman. Rubella infection during the first trimester of pregnancy often leads to fetal death or severe congenital defects (congenital rubella syndrome, CRS). Rubella remains endemic in many countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It has been estimated that 20000 or more infants are perhaps born with CRS each year in Latin American and Caribbean countries. While the inclusion of rubella vaccination into routine childhood immunization will decrease rubella virus circulation among young children, it will not have immediate impact on the transmission of rubella among adults or the occurrence of CRS. A one-time mass campaign targeting both males and females 5 to 39 years of age with measles-mumps-rubella or measles-rubella vaccine followed by the use of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in routine early childhood vaccination will prevent and control both rubella and CRS promptly. In April 1988, the Ministers of Health of the English-speaking Caribbean targeted rubella for elimination by the end of the year 2000 using the vaccination strategy outlined above. The rubella elimination experience of these countries will provide useful information for the eventual elimination of rubella virus from the Americas.

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