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Commentary
February 10, 1999

The Eradication of Rubella

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Pasteur Mérieux Connaught, Swiftwater, Pa, and Lyon, France (Dr Plotkin); the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (Dr Plotkin); the March of Dimes, Birth Defects Foundation, White Plains, NY (Dr Katz); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Immunization Program, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Cordero).

JAMA. 1999;281(6):561-562. doi:10.1001/jama.281.6.561

During 1963 to 1964, a pandemic of rubella swept across Europe and the United States, leaving in its wake at least 20,000 affected infants in this country alone.1 During the epidemic an expanded congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) was described, involving not only the classic triad of cataracts, cardiac abnormalities, and deafness, but also encephalitis, wasting, hepatitis, pneumonia, endocrinopathies, and other sequelae. This disaster supervened just after the first isolation of rubella virus in cell culture and stimulated efforts to develop a vaccine, which were successful by the end of the decade.

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