Congenital rubella

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By Raymond P Roos MD

Congenital rubella is also known as or subsumes Congenital German measles and Prenatal rubella. -ed.

Congenital rubella infection may cause a severe syndrome with visual, hearing, and neurologic disabilities, but also with more subtle findings that may lead to diagnostic delays. In this clinical summary update, Dr. Raymond P Roos of the University of Chicago emphasizes the effectiveness of a 2-dose vaccination in preventing the syndrome.

Key Points

  • Infection rates and risk of congenital rubella syndrome are highest during the first trimester of pregnancy and during primary infection of the pregnant mother.
  • The World Health Organization emphasizes rubella vaccination and supplementary immunization of all rubella-susceptible children, adolescents, and women of childbearing age.
  • Despite high vaccine coverage, rubella occurs in unimmunized groups, low seroconversion status, or as a result of reinfection.
  • Because the virus may persist for up to 1 year of age, pregnant women should not handle or expose themselves to congenitally infected infants.

In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Clinical manifestations
Clinical vignette
Pathogenesis and pathophysiology
Differential diagnosis
Diagnostic workup
Prognosis and complications
References cited