Facts about Measles & Rubella
More about Measles, Rubella & Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) Worldwide
Domestic measles, rubella, and CRS have been eliminated in the Western Hemisphere (Americas). We know that it can be done in the rest of the world!
Facts about Measles, Rubella & CRS
- Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It can result in serious health complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and even cause death.
- Rubella is a viral infection that affects unvaccinated children and young adults. If an unvaccinated woman gets rubella while pregnant – especially in her first three months – serious consequences can result, including miscarriages, fetal deaths, still births, and having infants born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).
- CRS is a group of devastating birth defects that includes blindness, deafness, and heart defects. More than 100,000 children are born every year with CRS, mainly in Africa, South-East Asia, and the Western Pacific.
What do Measles and Rubella have in common?
- While rubella is sometimes referred to as “German measles,” the rubella and measles viruses are unrelated and are from different virus families. However, they do have some similarities. Both viruses:
- are spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing,
- can result in fever and skin rash after infection, and
- survive only in human hosts.
- Measles and rubella can be prevented with vaccines that can be delivered together as a combined measles-rubella (MR) vaccine, or combined with vaccines against mumps (MMR) and varicella (chickenpox) (MMRV).
Eliminating measles & rubella
Immunization is considered the first line of public health defense and one of the most efficient and cost-effective public health interventions in the world. A high level of vaccination coverage in a population group can stop the spread of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) by reducing the number of people who are at risk of infection.