Phylogeography of rubella virus in Asia: Vaccination and demography shape synchronous outbreaks

Brooke A. Bozick, Colin J. Worby, C. Jessica E. Metcalf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Rubella virus causes mild disease in children but for women in the early stages of pregnancy, it can cause spontaneous abortion, congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) and associated birth defects. Despite the availability of an effective vaccine, rubella virus continues to circulate endemically in several regions of the world. This is particularly true in East and Southeast (E/SE) Asia, where control efforts vary widely among countries that are well connected through travel and immigration. It is therefore important to understand how the regional persistence of rubella is affected both by dynamics occurring across countries and susceptibility within countries. Here, we use genetic and epidemiological data from countries in E/SE Asia to explore the phylogeography of rubella virus in this region. Our results underline that metapopulation dynamics are key for rubella persistence and highlight the source-sink population structure of the region. We identify countries that contribute to the regional metapopulation network and link epidemic dynamics to susceptibility profiles within each country. Our results indicate that human movement plays an important role in driving epidemic dynamics in E/SE Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100346
StatePublished - Sep 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Virology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology


  • Epidemic dynamics
  • Human movement
  • Metapopulation
  • Phylogeography
  • Rubella virus


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