Rubella (German Measles) in the Netherlands
Since 1974 girls have been (voluntary) vaccinated against rubella and since 1987 both girls and boys. Despite it being a very rare disease an outbreak of rubella did occur between September 2004 and September 2005. It started in Twente (eastern part of the Netherlands) and spread to other regions. Notable for this epidemic was its concentration in the so-called 'bible-belt'. This area reaches from the islands of Zeeland (the south-west), via the countryside of Zuid-Holland and Utrecht up to the northern part of the Veluwe and the western part of Overijssel (directly east of the Lake IJsselmeer). Comparing this pattern with the percentages of vaccinations shows that the epidemic is restricted to the municipalities with a relatively low percentage of vaccinated children.
The map shows the places where rubella has been confirmed by a laborical research testing. In the period between 1 September 2004 and 13 September 2005 there were 387 confirmed cases of rubella. The municipality of Dordrecht had, with 23 reported cases, the highest number of rubella infected people (spread over seven postal codes).
However, cases were not reported. It is estimated that the actual number of infections is about 20 to 50 times higher.
Rubella (German Measles) is a viral disease that is quite harmless during childhood, but which can lead to congenital defects and miscarriages if a pregnant woman is infected. More information can be found in The National Public Health Compass (in dutch).
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Nationale Atlas Volksgezondheid, versie 4.11, 28 maart 2013
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