After a long period of inadequate vaccination coverage, Italy implemented a National Elimination Plan for Measles and Congenital Rubella in 2003, in order to reach the objective by 2010, according to the goals of World Health Organization (WHO) in the European Region. Concerted efforts have been made in the last years in all Italian Regions, leading to substantial increase of coverage both at 24 months of age and in older children, also thanks to a special campaign addressed to school-age subjects. Measles and rubella are at historical lows, although several limited outbreaks occurred in 2006. However, such outbreaks gave the opportunity to show that lab surveillance of cases, identification of contacts and their rapid immunisation are feasible and able to stop further spread of infection. The re-introduction in 2005 of compulsory notification for congenital rubella and rubella during pregnancy has a key role in the evaluation of needs for women at fertile age and to address efforts of vaccination to risk groups, like immigrant women. Although further actions need to be pursued, the increase of vaccination coverage and the strong commitment of the Italian public health service in the Elimination Plan suggest that phase II of measles control is approaching and that final elimination of measles and congenital rubella can be reached in Italy.
- Congenital rubella
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health