The Pan American Health Organization declares rubella eliminated in the Americas
On April 29, 2015 the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in conjunction with CDC, UNICEF, and the United Nations Foundation, announced that rubella had been eliminated from the WHO Americas region. The first three paragraphs of a press release from PAHO and World Health Organization (WHO) are reprinted below.
The Americas region has become the first in the world to be declared free of endemic transmission of rubella, a contagious viral disease that can cause multiple birth defects as well as fetal death when contracted by women during pregnancy.
This achievement culminates a 15-year effort that involved widespread administration of the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) throughout the Western Hemisphere. The announcement comes as 45 countries and territories of the Americas are participating in the 13th annual Vaccination Week in the Americas (April 25 to May 2).
The declaration of elimination, made by an international expert committee during a meeting at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) last week, makes rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) the third and fourth vaccine-preventable diseases to be eliminated from the Americas, following the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971 and the elimination of polio in 1994.