The Presidential Daily Brief

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    The Americas Have Eliminated Rubella

    In April, health officials declared the Americas the first region in the world to be free of endemic rubella, thanks to a massive, 15-year effort to vaccinate men, women and children everywhere in the hemisphere. Rubella, also known as German measles, leads to death or severe birth defects when women get the disease during pregnancy. The campaign to eliminate rubella from the Americas prevented more than 100,000 children from contracting rubella syndrome, saving $3 billion that countries could then use to meet other critical health needs. This milestone lends momentum not only to efforts to wipe out rubella around the world — it also gives a shot in the arm to efforts to eliminate measles, which is more deadly and more contagious than rubella, because the rubella and measles vaccines are often given in combination.

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