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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
January 21, 2009

Progress Toward Elimination of Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome—the Americas, 2003-2008

JAMA. 2009;301(3):266-268. doi:10.1001/jama.301.3.266

MMWR. 2008;57:1176-1179

1 figure, 2 tables omitted

In 2003, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) adopted a resolution calling for rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) elimination in the Americas by the year 2010.1 Elimination was defined as the interruption of endemic rubella virus transmission in all countries of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean for more than 12 months and no occurrence of CRS cases attributed to endemic transmission.2 To accomplish this goal, PAHO developed a rubella and CRS elimination strategy3 to (1) introduce rubella-containing vaccine (RCV) into routine vaccination programs of all countries for children aged 12 months and reach ≥95% coverage in all municipalities, (2) conduct a one-time mass campaign among adolescents and adults and periodic follow-up campaigns among children aged <5 years,4 and (3) integrate rubella surveillance with measles surveillance and initiate CRS surveillance. During 1998-2006, confirmed rubella cases decreased 98% (from 135,947 to 2,998) in the Americas. However, in 2007, rubella outbreaks with a total of 13,014 cases occurred in three countries (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile), primarily in males not included in previous vaccination campaigns. This report summarizes overall progress toward reaching the 2010 goal of eliminating rubella and CRS. With completion of campaigns in Argentina, Brazil, and Haiti, all countries will have implemented the recommended PAHO strategy by the end of 2008, with the expectation of reaching the 2010 rubella and CRS elimination goal.