ECDC recommends changes for surveillance of rubella

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control is preparing to make changes in the monitoring of rubella throughout Europe to help align the data, according to a recent report by the agency.

While most European Union and European Economic Area countries monitor rubella, congenital rubella syndrome and rubella in pregnancy through comprehensive and mandatory systems, some changes may be put in place to ensure monitoring is consistent throughout Europe. The ECDC said that countries could implement several rubella surveillance changes, such as universal use zero-reporting, collection of information on imported cases and adoption of uniform case definitions.

Three of the 29 countries surveyed in the most recent report employ universal use zero-reporting, 20 countries collect information on imported cases and 22 countries have adopted uniform case definitions.

The ECDC also said that all countries in Europe need to maintain very high vaccination coverage in infants and provide immunization opportunities for susceptible populations.

The WHO European Region is committed to eliminating rubella from the region by 2015. In 2012, EU and EEA countries reported more than 27,000 cases of rubella.

Rubella is a mild febrile rash caused by the rubella virus that is transmitted via droplets. Approximately 20 to 50 percent of cases have no symptoms. In symptomatic cases, patients can develop rash, upper respiratory tract symptoms, swollen lymph glands and malaise. Rubella can be deadly for a developing fetus if the virus infects a woman during pregnancy.