Introduction. Poland is a member of the WHO European Region where a complete eradication of measles and rubella is planned to be finished by 2015. Poland accounted for 99% of all reported rubella cases in 27 EU/EEA countries in 2013. It is a good time to evaluate whether the established Polish vaccination strategy was sufficient to reach the goal of rubella elimination in the near future.
Aim. The aim of this study was to analyze the epidemiology of rubella in Poland when the disease outbreak took place in 2013, to determine the reasons of that situation and to find the solution for future rubella elimination strategies.
Material and methods. To analyze the epidemiology of rubella in Poland during the disease outbreak in 2013 the authors used rubella surveillance data collected by the Provincial and National Notifiable Disease Reporting System in 2004-2013. The information at the provincial level derived from one of the 16 provinces (Malopolska). The data on MMR vaccination coverage in 2003-2012 derived from the National Surveillance System. The percentages of rubella cases and vaccine coverage between Poland with Malopolska province were compared.
Results. The outbreak started in late 2012 and continued through 2013, when 38548 rubella cases (incidence rate 100.1/ 100 000) were notified. Geographically, rubella cases were reported from the entire country, with the highest incidence rate in Malopolska province (254.9/100 000). Only 5 cases from Malopolska and 120 in whole country were laboratory confirmed, the remaining 99.7% were reported solely on the basis of clinical signs. The vaccination coverage was not sufficient to protect the population against rubella outbreak in Poland, especially among adolescents and young adult males.
Conclusions. The strengthening of routine immunization program and implementation of some additional vaccination campaigns in young adults as well as laboratory confirmation of all suspected cases are the challenges that will have to be met to eliminate rubella in Poland
Department of Epidemiology, Chair of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland / The member of Polish National Verification Committee for Measles and Rubella Elimination
1. World Health Organization. Eliminating measles and rubella. Framework for the verification process in the WHO European Region. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2012. [http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/156776/e96153-Eng-final-version.pdf]
2. Pan American Health Organization. Plan of Action of the documentation and verification of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome elimination in the region of the Americas. Washington DC: Pan American Health Organization; 2011.
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