Progress towards reducing rubella and congenital rubella syndrome worldwide, 2000 to 2018

08 October 2019

Article: 53/4002

For the first time, more than half of all the world’s infants are protected against the debilitating rubella virus, according to a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, more than 80 countries have eliminated the disease.

This progress has been achieved through broadening access to the safe and highly effective rubella vaccine, especially across lower-income countries. This vaccine has been shown to prevent more than 95% of rubella infections.

Four WHO regions have targets in place to control or stop the spread of the rubella virus. The latest countries to have achieved elimination, meaning the virus has not been circulating for at least 12 months, are Australia, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Oman.

In the last WHO/CDC rubella elimination study, which provided data for 2016, it was estimated that 47% infants were protected against rubella. In 2018, this figure stood at 69%.

Further information about rubella can be found on the Health Protection Scotland (HPS) website.

Source: WHO, 4 October 2019