Rubella (German Measles) Eradicated From North & South America


Rubella or German Measles is finally eradicated from the North and South America. These are the two first regions to get rid of the disease completely.

America had already eradicated small pox in 1971 and polio in 1994. Now it can also add German Measles and congenital rubella to the list of vaccine preventable diseases eradicated from the regions, stated IFL Science.

The achievement is the result of 15 years effort. It involved extensive administration of the vaccine against measles, rubella and mumps.  PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne said, “The elimination of rubella from the Americas is a historic achievement that reflects the collective will of our region’s countries to work together to achieve ambitious public health milestones.”

“Three years ago, governments agreed a Global Vaccine Action Plan. One of the plan’s targets is to eliminate rubella from two WHO regions by end-2015. I congratulate the Americas Region for being the first region to achieve this,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization.

Rubella is a contiguous viral disease that can cause different defects and also death when contracted by women when she is pregnant. The congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) may lead to autism, blindness, deafness and heart defects. The usual symptoms of German Measles are rashes, a slight fever, headaches, aching joints, runny nose and red eyes.

As stated by  BBC, during the last  outbreak between 1964 and 1965 around 20,000 children were born with CRS in the United States alone.  However, the country eradicated the virus by 2004.

The last endemic cases registered were in Argentina and Brazil in 2009.  This is a great development in  the regions which are already devastated by Zika Virus. Zika like Rubella causes birth defects when contracted by pregnant women. Although, no medication or vaccination is available for Zika, a recent report claimed that with the help of engineered mosquitoes it could be stopped.

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