Introduction. Rubella can have particularly serious effects on
the product of conception if contracted during pregnancy. Thus,
the main aim of rubella vaccination programmes is to prevent
infection during pregnancy.
Materials and methods. A seroepidemiological study was
conducted from July 2006 to December 2007 on 1,000 women
of childbearing age, 15 to 45 years old, using specific rubivirus
antibody assays, IgG and IgM. A questionnaire administered
at the same time allowed us to survey how much women knew
about this disease. In addition, MMR vaccine coverage rates
were analysed for cohorts born in the local health districts of
Messina for the period 1993-2006.
Results. An analysis of the replies given to the questionnaire
showed an estimated 42.8% of the women to have immunity
from rubella, while the serological study showed an immunity
coverage rate of 80.6%. Vaccination coverage in the local health
districts regarding the first dose of MMR was 81% (cohorts
1993-2005), while the rate was only 24% for the second dose
Conclusions. Both immunity coverage in women of childbearing
age and that for newborns (for the cohort considered) fall below the
95% target set by the National Elimination Plan for Measles and
Congenital Rubella (PNEM). It is therefore necessary to provide
women with adequate information about the risks of rubella during
pregnancy and about the benefits of vaccination, as well as to
recoup subjects at risk or those whose immune status is unknown.
Public health authorities also need to make continued efforts to
increase the number of MMR vaccinations throughout the region.