Progress Toward Rubella Elimination – World Health Organization European Region, 2005-2019

June 11, 2021 – A joint CDC and WHO report projects that the WHO European Region could soon be the second region in the world to achieve verified rubella elimination status, following the Region of the Americas in 2015. A new, joint CDC and WHO article reports that the WHO European Region has made significant progress in eliminating rubella, with high vaccination coverage and low rubella incidence. During 2005-2019, estimated regional coverage with a rubella vaccine was 93%–95%, and rubella incidence declined by more than 99%. By the end of 2019, 45 European countries were certified rubella-free after having gone at least 36 months with no transmission of the endemic rubella virus. The entire European region could soon reach that benchmark, making it the second WHO region behind the Americas Region to achieve rubella elimination. Rubella is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects; infection during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, fetal death, or an infant born with severe malformations known as congenital rubella syndrome. Rubella can be prevented through vaccination.


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