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Rubella's elimination from Australia 'shows vaccinations work'

Posted by On 6:12 PM

Rubella's elimination from Australia 'shows vaccinations work'

Health Rubella's elimination from Australia 'shows vaccinations work'

‘The medical experts’ advice is absolute â€" vaccinations save lives,’ Greg Hunt says

A baby is vaccinated
A baby is vaccinated against rubella, which has been eliminated from Australia. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The elimination of rubella is a great day for public health in Australia and sends a powerful message that vaccinations work, the health minister, Greg Hunt, has said.

Rubella, a highly contagious viral disease that can result in miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects has been eliminated across the country, the World Health Organization announced on Wednesday.

The illness â€" also known as German measles â€" causes a fever, rash, joint pain and swollen lymph glands. If contracted by pregnant women during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy it can result in miscarriage or stillbirth or cause life-long medical issues for their babies.

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Hunt said Australia’s national immunisation program had been essential in eliminating the disease. The program provides free vaccination for protection against rubella for children aged 12 months, with a booster given at 18 months. Nationwide immunisation rates for five-year-olds is now 94.62%, the highest figure on record.

“The science is in and the medical experts’ advice is absolute â€" vaccinations save lives and protect lives and they are an essential part of a healthy society,” Hunt said.

Australia has had rolling epidemics of rubella: the largest number of cases were reported in 1958, with more than 5,000 notified cases; in 1963-64, with more than 3,000 notified cases; and in the early 1990s, with more than 4,000 notified cases.

More than 30 countries have now eliminated rubella, with “eliminated” status declared once there has been no endemic transmission for at least 36 months. Sweden, Croatia, Greece, Iceland, Lithuania, Montenegro and Uzbekistan are among those countries to have already reached elimination status.

Topics
  • Health
  • Vaccines and immunisation
  • Australian politics
  • Greg Hunt
  • World Health Organization
  • Infectious diseases
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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia

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