Australia rubella-free

Rubella has been officially eradicated in Australia, the World Health Organization has announced

“The elimination of rubella is a great day for public health in Australia and sends a powerful message that vaccinations work,” said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

“I commend the efforts of Australia’s health professionals over the decades and the millions of parents who ensure their children are always vaccinated.

“Our National Immunisation Program played an essential role this huge achievement by ensuring high levels of vaccination coverage for rubella.”

Last week, Mur Hunt announced that the nation-wide immunisation rates for five year olds was 94.62%, the highest figure on record.

“Australia has high-performing surveillance systems to rapidly detect and respond to rubella cases and today’s confirmation this disease has been eliminated is testimony to the success of our National Immunisation Program,” Mr Hunt said.

“Australia has had rolling epidemics of rubella with the largest number of cases reported in 1958 with over 5,000 notified cases, 1963-64 with over 3,000 notified cases and in the early 1990s with more than 4,000 notified cases.”

The WHO also confirmed Australia has also maintained its measles elimination status, after being verified in 2014.

“Measles and rubella are very contagious and remain endemic in many countries so we need to remain vigilant and keep our vaccinations up to date,” said Mr Hunt.

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