Surveillance report Open Access


In Italy, rubella vaccination has been recommended since 1972 for pre-adolescent girls, and since the early 1990s for all children in the second year of life. Nevertheless, coverage in children from 12 to 24 months of age is suboptimal (i.e., 56% in 1998, 78% in 2003), with wide variations among regions. As a result, rubella is still circulating in Italy, and in 1996 the percentage of women susceptible to rubella between 15 and 39 years of age was >5%. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) was a notifiable disease between 1987 and 1991, with a range of 8-76 cases reported annually. Since 1992, national incidence data are no longer available, but local reports show that CRS cases are still occurring. Nationwide, coordinated and uniform actions are needed to control CRS effectively. For this reason, the National Plan for the Elimination of Measles and of Congenital Rubella has recently been launched. This plan includes strategies aimed at increasing MMR vaccination coverage in children and specific control measures for congenital rubella control, i.e., improving the vaccination of susceptible women of childbearing age, and reintroducing national surveillance of CRS.


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