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Rubella in United Kingdom

13 Sep 2012

The media has reported on an outbreak of rubella infection in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in the south of England, UK. Since the beginning of the year (2012) there have been 14 confirmed cases of rubella recorded; this compares with none in 2011.

The outbreak is thought to be due to inadequate vaccine coverage. Parents are being encouraged to have their children vaccinated, particularly to have the second dose of MMR prior to school entry. In Hampshire 89% of children have received their pre-school MMR booster and 91% of children on the Isle of Wight. To achieve 'heard immunity' a level of 95% vaccine coverage is necessary.

Advice for Travellers

Rubella infection has serious consequences for the unborn child if acquired by a woman during pregnancy. It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-15 months of age and again pre-school around 3 years 6 months, while unimmunised adults who have not had the disease themselves may consider vaccination if thought to be at risk. Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to give adequate protection.