The effectiveness of herd immunity as a method of protecting rubella-susceptible individuals during epidemic conditions was evaluated. Six groups of Marine trainees were followed longitudinally through a rubella epidemic. Levels of herd immunity in these groups ranged from 87% to 100%. All susceptible men developed rubella infection with a 2:1 inapparent to apparent infection ratio. In a military population rubella is characterized as an endemic disease with seasonal epidemics. Arthritis and arthralgia were found in 21% of 292 cases of rubella in adult men. Vaccination of selected susceptible adult women is needed.
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