Rubella, also known as German measles, has been eradicated from the Americas, according to a joint statement released by several government health authorities, including those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 50 years ago, a massive rubella outbreak in the United States had resulted in 11,000 fetuses being miscarried, dying in the womb, or being aborted, and another 20,000 babies being born with defects. And while it had taken 15 years for health officials to eliminate rubella, the “fight,” according to health officials, “has (finally) paid off.” “Now, with rubella under our belt, we need to roll up our sleeves and finish the job of eliminating measles as well,” added Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization. Dr. Etienne had released the statement in conjunction with officials from the CDC, UNICEF, and the UN Foundation.
With the Americas having eliminated rubella, this makes it the first World Health Organization region to announce it has gotten rid of the disease. The European region, which comprises Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, is pushing to be next in line. However, as some regions have not yet set solid timelines for the eradication of rubella, there is hardly any chance that it will be gone on a worldwide basis by the turn of the new decade. The last rubella endemic had taken place in Argentina in 2009.