Global Impact

Due to successful vaccination programs, the incidence of rubella has significantly decreased in many parts of the world. However, it remains a concern in areas with lower vaccination rates, and efforts to maintain high immunization coverage are crucial to prevent outbreaks and protect vulnerable populations.

The update of the rubella virus nomenclature in 2013 contributed significantly to the surveillance and understanding of this disease. Using data generated by the WHO Global Measles and Rubella Laboratory Network (LabNet) over the past five years, this update has enabled improved classification of various wild rubella virus genotypes . The nomenclature system was designed to integrate new genotypes, follow the evolution of existing viruses and adapt the classification periodically. With this flexibility, three provisional genotypes were promoted to recognized genotypes, bringing the total number of genotypes to twelve, while only one provisional genotype was retained. Numbers assigned to broad groups of viruses reflect their distant relatedness, classified as clades 1 and 2, while letters represent genotypic subgroups within these clades. This nomenclature update illustrates significant advances in monitoring and understanding the genetic diversity of rubella viruses, significantly contributing to global efforts to eliminate the spread of this disease.

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