The Italian National Plan of Measles and Rubella Elimination 2010-2015 has deferred the objective to reduce congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) to <1 case per 100 000 live births to 2015 and has highlighted the need to reduce to <5% susceptibility to rubella among women in childbearing-age. In Puglia region, MMR vaccine coverage is 93% in newborns (cohort 2010; one dose), 85% in children 5-6 years old and 77% in adolescents (cohort 2005 and 1997, respectively; two doses). Combining available seroepidemiological data and results of a survey on the attitude towards rubella vaccination and rubella testing before pregnancy, we could estimate that 5.7% of Apulian women in childbearing-age are currently susceptible to rubella infection. The regional infectious disease routine notification system reported no cases of CRS and rubella in pregnancy in 2001-2010 period. The inconsistency among the mentioned data triggered the evaluation of the reliability of disease reporting. We performed a retrospective case-finding for the years 2003-2011. We scanned the regional hospital discharge registry to identify hospitalizations for rubella in pregnancy and CRS and retrieve individual records. We also searched for clinical history of CRS mothers in the delivery assistance certificate registry. We identified one CRS, two confirmed and four suspected congenital infections, and seven cases of rubella in pregnancy. Passive surveillance of CRS and rubella in pregnancy appears not to be reliable in the light of strengthening rubella elimination strategies.
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