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Dr. S. Krugman, New York: The previous sessions were a prelude to this discussion of the future of rubella virus vaccines. In the first session, when rubella as a disease was discussed, we were reminded that this extremely mild illness in children was more severe in adults, especially in women who frequently developed transient joint manifestations. However, the major rubella problem occurred following maternal infection acquired during the early weeks of pregnancy. Many reports during the first session highlighted the serious consequences of severe congenital rubella infection. It was clear that rubella is a major medical and social problem, and the need for a safe and effective vaccine was obvious.
During the second session the virology and epidemiology of rubella was reviewed. In general, the epidemiological patterns of the disease were similar in most parts of the United States. However, striking differences were observed in certain states, such as Hawaii.