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Cover page of the Journal of Health Sciences
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-37

Burden, epidemiological pattern, and surveillance gap of rubella in Nigeria: A call for routine vaccination policy

1 Department of Community Medicine, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti; Department of Community Medicine, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekit, Nigeria
2 Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Ilorin and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
3 Department of Immunizations, Vaccines and Emergencies/Expanded Program on Immunization, World Health Organization, Kwara State Field Office, Ilorin, Nigeria
4 Department of Community Health and Primary HealthCare, Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
5 Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology, University of Ilorin and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kabir Adekunle Durowade
Department of Community Medicine, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD)
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kleuhsj.kleuhsj_54_20

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Rubella is an epidemic-prone disease with endemic transmission in Nigeria. It is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by the rubella virus whose devastating teratogenic effect makes it a disease of major public health importance when it occurs in pregnancy leading to congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in infants. This article seeks to do a review of the burden, epidemiology, and examine the rubella surveillance gap in Nigeria. This is a review of literatures and the use of available World Health Organization secondary surveillance data to establish the burden, epidemiological pattern, and surveillance gap of rubella in Nigeria. Data were analyzed and presented with appropriate tables and charts. Epidemiologically, rubella occurs worldwide with seasonal variation. Available data from two geo-political zones (North-central and Southwest) of Nigeria showed that the peak incidence of rubella occur in the first 4 months of the year with most of the cases occurring in those <15 years and cuts across the rural and urban areas. Rubella and CRS are neglected diseases with no distinct surveillance system in place, no national incidence figure and no vaccination policy. The surveillance of rubella is integrated with that of measles with a noticeable poor case detection as only measles-negative blood samples are tested for rubella not minding the possibility of measles-rubella co-infection. With no national incidence figure and the gap in surveillance, rubella is under-reported in Nigeria. There is a need for a bridge of the surveillance gap and the government should have routine vaccination policy on rubella introduced in Nigeria.

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