In November 2003 the National Plan for the elimination of measles and congenital rubella was approved, with the aim of reducing and maintaining the incidence of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) at less than 1 case per 100,000 live births by 2007. In order to describe the epidemiology of rubella in Italy, we conducted a serosurvey and evaluated incidence and vaccination coverage data available for the period 1998-2004. In the years considered, national mean coverage of measles-mumps-rubella vaccination within the second year of life, even though still below the 95% threshold, has progressively increased reaching 87%. In addition, previously existing differences in coverage among regions have diminished. In the same period the incidence of rubella has decreased, with a historic minimum of 461 cases notified in 2004. The cyclic pattern typical of rubella persists, but with a prolongation of the interepidemic period and an increased mean age of acquisition of the infection. Although the proportion of immune individuals has increased, the percentage of women of childbearing age susceptible to rubella remains high (11% in the 15-19 year age group and 8% in the 20-39 year age group) and CRS cases continue to occur. Despite the clear results achieved through the implementation of vaccination strategies in children within the second year of life, a continued strong public health commitment is required to increase the proportion of vaccinated individuals and absolute priority must be given to immunising women of childbearing age.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Annali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunità|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2007|
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