WHO de­clares Aus­tralia as Rubella free

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - WHO NEWS -

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) has re­cently de­clared that Rubella, a highly con­ta­gious viral dis­ease that can re­sult in mis­car­riage, still­birth and birth de­fects, has been elim­i­nated across Aus­tralia. The coun­try’s na­tional immunisation pro­gramme had been es­sen­tial in elim­i­nat­ing the dis­ease. The pro­gramme pro­vides free vac­ci­na­tion for pro­tec­tion against rubella for chil­dren aged 12 months, with a booster given at 18 months. Na­tion­wide immunisation rates for five-year-olds is now 94.62 per cent, the high­est fig­ure on record. Aus­tralia has had rolling epi­demics of rubella, the largest num­ber of cases were re­ported in 1958, with more than 5,000 no­ti­fied cases; in 1963-64, with more than 3,000 no­ti­fied cases; and in the early 1990s, with more than 4,000 no­ti­fied cases. More than 30 coun­tries have now elim­i­nated rubella, with “elim­i­nated” sta­tus de­clared once there has been no en­demic trans­mis­sion for at least 36 months. Swe­den, Croa­tia, Greece, Ice­land, Lithua­nia, Mon­tene­gro and Uzbek­istan are among those coun­tries to have al­ready reached elim­i­na­tion sta­tus.

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