Background and Objectives: Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable congenital anomalies. Comprehensive country-level data on the burden of CRS in low and middle-income countries, such as Bangladesh, are scarce. This information is es-sential for assessing the impact of rubella vaccination programs. We aim to systematically review the literature on the epidemiology of CRS and estimate the burden of CRS in Bangladesh.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review of existing literature and transmission modelling of seroprevalence studies to estimate the pre-vaccine period burden of CRS in Bangladesh. OVID Medline (1948 – 23 November 2016) and OVID EMBASE (1974 – 23 November 2016) were searched using a combination of the database-specific controlled vocabulary and free text terms. We used an age-stratified deterministic model to estimate the pre-vaccination burden of CRS in Bangladesh.
Findings: Ten articles were identified, published between 2000 and 2014, including seven cross-sectional studies, two case series and one analytical case-control study. Rubella seropositivity ranged from 47.0% to 86.0% among all age population. Rubella sero–positivity increased with age. Rubella seropositivity among women of childbearing age was 81.0% overall. The estimated incidence of CRS was 0·99 per 1,000 live births, which corresponds to approximately 3,292 CRS cases annually in Bangladesh.
Conclusion: The estimated burden of CRS in Bangladesh during the pre-vaccination period was high. This will provide important baseline information to assess the impact and cost-effectiveness of routine rubella immunisation, introduced in 2012 in Bangladesh.