Rubella is offically eradicated from Australia
A HORROR disease that kills and seriously harms unborn babies has been eradicated in Australia.
The World Health Organisation is set to announce today that rubella has been eliminated from Australia - an achievements that is being hailed as a major win for the country's robust vaccination program.
In the early 1990s over 4000 cases of rubella were reported in Australia.
This has dropped to just eight so far this year.
WHO has given Australia the eradication status because all spread of rubella can now be traced back to imported cases with no ongoing outbreaks that have lasted longer than 12 months.
Rubella - often referred to as German measles - is a highly contagious infection that can cause a rash and fever in adults.
But if a woman catches the infection while pregnant there is an up to 20 per cent chance she will miscarry.
If she falls ill in the early stages of pregnancy with rubella there is an up to 90 per cent chance the child will suffer multiple problems including deafness, vision impairment and growth retardation.
Children in Australia are vaccinated against rubella at 12 months and 18 months.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the elimination of rubella was a "highly significant public health accomplishment".
"The elimination of rubella is a great day for public health in Australia and sends a powerful message that vaccinations work," Mr Hunt said.
"I commend the efforts of Australia's health professionals over the decades and the millions of parents who ensure their children are always vaccinated."
Immunisation rate for five-year-olds in Australia has hit 94.62 per cent.
"The science is in and the medical experts' advice is absolute - vaccinations save lives and protect lives and they are an essential part of a healthy society," he said.
There have been multiple rubella epidemics in Australia with the most severe in 1958 when over 5000 people were sickened by the infection.
In 1963-1964 there were over 3000 cases while in the early 1990s more than 4,000 cases were reported.
There's been eight cases reported in Australia this year with the majority to have come from overseas.
The WHO also upheld Australia's elimination of measles which was first confirmed in 2014.