The Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it is now official that Rubella, otherwise known as German measles is completely eradicated in South, Central and North American states.
The good news comes after five years with no reported cases, only three being needed in assessing the impact of medical eradication strategy. The registered success is reportedly due to extensive measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) campaigning in all the targeted areas.
In 1969, Dr. Maurice Hillman developed and introduced the MMR following the major rubella outbreak in the US. Now, after a 15 year long vaccination campaign, rubella no longer exists in the Americas.
The possibility of other cases still being reported in the following years are limited only to the cases of persons travelling outside the rubella free states. Since it is a highly contagious virus that can be spread by simply sneezing and coughing, the chances are not that limited, unless the person already developed immunity. The most visible symptoms of rubella are high fever and an eruption of red rashes on the body.
The success of the MMR vaccination campaign comes as an even greater delight considering that throughout the US there have been periods of time during which groups of people, predominantly those with children refused vaccination. It was believed at the time that MMR can cause autism in children being vaccinated.
Yet, against this fear, the greatest threat that was posed to pregnant women was that of congenital rubella syndrome that could result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Even if the children survived there were high chances that they would suffer of heart problems, brain damage, bone development problems, blindness or deafness. The misfortunes could even reach internal organs such as the liver or the spleen.
The German measles have been eradicated, following the elimination of smallpox in 1971 and of polio in 1994.
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