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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination - United States, 2001-2010

Brynn E Berger1*, Ann Marie Navar-Boggan2 and Saad B Omer345

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Room 7017 (CNR Building), Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

2 Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

3 Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

4 Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia USA

5 Emory Vaccine Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:340  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-340

Published: 19 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is associated with several negative outcomes, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The objective of this study was to estimate the numbers of CRS and ASD cases prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States from 2001 through 2010.

Methods

Prevention estimates were calculated through simple mathematical modeling, with values of model parameters determined from published literature. Model parameters included pre-vaccine era CRS incidence, vaccine era CRS incidence, the number of live births per year, and the percentage of CRS cases presenting with an ASD.

Results

Based on our estimates, 16,600 CRS cases (range: 8300-62,250) were prevented by rubella vaccination from 2001 through 2010 in the United States. An estimated 1228 ASD cases were prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States during this time period. Simulating a slight expansion in ASD diagnostic criteria in recent decades, we estimate that a minimum of 830 ASD cases and a maximum of 6225 ASD cases were prevented.

Conclusions

We estimate that rubella vaccination prevented substantial numbers of CRS and ASD cases in the United States from 2001 through 2010. These findings provide additional incentive to maintain high measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage.