Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) causes severe growth and mental retardation, deafness and other developmental problems in developing fetuses. CRS is the result of infection by rubella (also known as German Measles) during the first trimester of pregnancy and, while the effects on the mother can be very mild, the effects on the developing fetus can be devastating. Though the burden of CRS is not well documented, the WHO estimates that in developing countries alone 100,000 cases of CRS occur each year.
Rubella, and thus CRS, is vaccine preventable, and the disease has been eliminated in the Americas. Sabin is working to eradicate rubella globally through increasing awareness of the burden of rubella and CRS. Sabin is carrying out advocacy activities in Asia, Africa and Europe related to the prevention of rubella and CRS. Like polio, the historical documentation of rubella and CRS cases confirms that the disease has taken a toll on the lives of children for too long.