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News1996June › Adult rubella at new high › June 1996

Adult rubella at new high

Even though there was a mass measles and rubella vaccination campaign in 1994 in the UK, the number of cases of rubella (German measles) in Scotland is standing at a 13 year high

Even though there was a mass measles and rubella vaccination campaign in 1994 in the UK, the number of cases of rubella (German measles) in Scotland is standing at a 13 year high.

And probably because of the vaccine, the cases are mainly among older people aged between 15 and 34 when the disease is far more dangerous.

Rubella infection, once a disease of childhood, has now become a disease of adult males who were not targeted by the various vaccination campaigns, some aimed exclusively at females, reports Janet Stevenson from the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health.

In the latest outbreak, three pregnant women were infected by adults; in all, 169 people were reported to be infected in one four week cycle, the single highest figure since 1983. About 79 per cent of cases have been in adult males.

A similar pattern where the illness suddenly became an adult one occurred in Finland in 1982 following a mass immunization programme there.


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