Routine rubella vaccination was begun in the United States in 1969 with the goal of preventing congenital rubella infection. In October 2004, 35 years after initiation of the program, an independent panel of international experts was convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess progress toward elimination of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Based on available data, panel members concluded unanimously that rubella is no longer endemic in the United States. The national objective of elimination of rubella and CRS by 2010 from the United States has been attained.

Rubella was first described as a mild exanthematous illness of childhood early in the 19th century by German physicians, resulting in the name German measles. In 1941, Sir Norman Gregg, an Australian ophthalmologist, recognized that a number of children developed cataracts after an epidemic of rubella and proposed an association between maternal rubella infection and the...

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