Measles, Rubella & Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) Elimination

As a founding member of the Measles and Rubella Initiative (M & RI)external icon, launched in 2001, CDC provides both scientific and technical support to partners and countries in other parts of the world to reduce measles and rubella deaths. CDC played a key role, in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)external icon, to develop a regional measles elimination strategy in 1996 that led to the elimination of this disease in the Americas in 2002 and the eventual declaration of measles elimination in 2016. CDC:

  • Helps plan at a macro-and micro-level, implement, monitor, and evaluate measles and rubella vaccination campaigns in targeted areas to eliminate measles, rubella and CRS.
  • Conducts operational research to provide evidence for recommendations that strengthen and guide measles- and rubella-control activities at the local, regional, and global levels.
  • Helps evaluate the burden of rubella and CRS in countries to provide evidence for the introduction of rubella-containing vaccines.
  • Provides technical assistance to conduct measles and rubella outbreak investigations, surveillance reviews, and routine vaccination program evaluations.
  • Helps create and/or strengthen case-based measles, rubella, and CRS surveillance systems that allow countries to detect, monitor, and quickly respond to the presence of measles, rubella, and CRS.
  • Serves as the global reference laboratory for measles and rubella.
  • Provides resources for national reference laboratories.
  • Provides technical assistance to global public health laboratories for the collection and shipment of clinical samples for measles testing using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

2012–2020 Global Measles and Rubella Strategic Plan

The 2012 to 2020 Global Measles & Rubella Strategic Plan pdf icon[PDF – 1.28MB]external icon describes five core components of a comprehensive measles and rubella elimination strategy:

  • Achieve and maintain high levels of population immunity by providing high vaccination coverage with two doses of measles and rubella containing vaccines.
  • Monitor diseases using effective surveillance and evaluate programmatic efforts to ensure progress.
  • Develop and maintain outbreak preparedness, respond rapidly to outbreaks, and manage cases.
  • Communicate and engage to build public confidence and demand for immunization.
  • Perform the research and development needed to support cost-effective operations and improve vaccination and diagnostic tools.

Regional Measles & Rubella Elimination Goals

Target dates for elimination of measles and elimination or control of rubella range from 2000 to 2020.

WHO world map of regional goals for the elimination of measles and either the elimination or control of rubella


Target dates for the elimination of measles and either the elimination or control of rubella by WHO region.
WHO Region Target Date for Measles Elimination Target Date for Rubella Elimination or Control
African Region 2020
Region of the Americas 2000 2010
South-East Asia Region 2020 2020
European Region 2015 2015
Eastern Mediterranean Region 2015
Western Pacific Region 2015 2015


Page last reviewed: December 9, 2014
Content source: Global Immunization