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March 18, 1974

The Memphis State University Rubella Outbreak: An Example of Changing Rubella Epidemiology

Author Affiliations

From the Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Dr. Guyer); the Memphis-Shelby County Health Department (Mr. Giandelia and Dr. Rendtorff) and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis (Dr. Bisno); the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville (Dr. Schaffner); the Student Health Service of Memphis (Tenn) State University (Dr. Ray); and the Tennessee Department of Public Health, Nashville (Dr. Hutcheson).

JAMA. 1974;227(11):1298-1300. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230240056027

During the spring of 1973, ninety-six cases of rubella occurred at Memphis State University. The epidemic remained confined to the University and did not involve elementary school children, who are the traditional source of infection for young adults. The epidemic occurred despite immunity levels of more than 80% in both the elementary school and college students. This outbreak and others recently reported in high schools and colleges suggest that rubella in these age groups may be a source of exposure for pregnant women.