HC Deb 25 November 1994 vol 250 c408W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will quantify the risk of an under 16-year-old contracting rubella this winter.

Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what grounds her Department has concluded that a rubella epidemic is imminent; and when her Department first arrived at this conclusion.

Mr. Sackville

A rubella epidemic is not imminent. In 1993, outbreaks of rubella in unimmunised older boys and young men led to a rise in cases of rubella in pregnant women. Rubella vaccine has been included in the present measles and rubella schools immunisation campaign to bring forward the elimination of rubella in pregnancy by five years and thereby hasten the eradication of the congenital rubella syndrome. Immunising girls and boys against rubella protects both from the disease. It is especially important for girls but also for boys as unprotected boys who catch rubella can transmit the disease to susceptible pregnant women.