Americas are Rubella Free says PAHO, Adults on Montserrat Need Boosters

VaccinesworkST. JOHN’S – While the Americas is celebrating good news that Rubella has been eliminated, residents on island are encouraged to check their immunization status.
April 25 to May 2, 2015 is Vaccination Week in the Americas and Montserrat is one of the nations which has contributed to the increased numbers of people who are fully immunized.
While the island boasts 100% immunization for school-aged children, the same cannot be said for the adult population.
“Adults who have passed through the local system would be covered,” says Nurse Violet Brown who is the Community Nursing Manager for the Ministry of Health. “All they need is a booster dose of tetanus which is given every 10 years. High risk persons will need to be covered with Hepatitis B. Persons in the fertile age group (22-45) will need MMR to protect them and their babies from contracting Rubella. Travelers to countries such as India, Africa, Guyana, Surinam will need yellow fever as an entry requirement.”
Adults who need to query their status should visit one of the health centres for the Open House planned for Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Get the full programme here…

Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell, Sub-Regional Advisor, Immunization for the PanAmerican Health Organisation (PAHO) announced Saturday that the Region of the Americas has now been certified as having eliminated rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).

In 2003 the Region of the Americas set the goal to eliminate rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) by 2010. Both diseases were eliminated in the Americas in 2009, when the last endemic rubella case was reported in February 2009. Since then, the three essential criteria to verity elimination have been met: interruption of endemic rubella and CRS cases for a period of 3 years; maintaining a high-quality surveillance system; and verify the absence of endemic rubella virus by identifying the genotype among the few import-rubella cases reported in the post elimination era.

“The International Expert Committee (IEC) for Documenting and Verifying Regional Elimination met in Washington DC on April 22-23 and after reviewing the evidence presented in the elimination reports of countries, the chairperson, Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis announced that the Region of the Americas can now be verified as having eliminated rubella and CRS.  A certificate of elimination has been signed by all the members of the IEC and has been presented to PAHO,” the PAHO official stated,

“This is great news for the region and we must celebrate this achievement during this VWA also.  However we have more work to do for measles elimination and we must continue to work assiduously at strengthening the coverage for both doses of MMR as well as the surveillance system for fever and rash.”

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