Congenital rubella

  • Congenital rubella is a condition in which the symptoms of rubella infection are present at or soon after birth
  • The presence of IgM antibodies against rubella (as IgM does not cross placenta) or persistence of IgG antibodies for more than 6 months (Maternal antibodies usually get removed by 6 months of age) in the foetus is an indication of congenital rubella infection
  • The infection arrests cell division and is hence responsible for various birth defects and low birth weight
  • The various features of congenital rubella infection (congenital rubella syndrome) are:
    • The classical triad of congenital cataract, deafness and cardiac malformations
    • glaucoma
    • retinopathy
    • microcephaly
    • mental retardation
    • hepatosplenomegaly
  • Congenital rubella is a chronic infection
  • The virus can be isolated from pharyngeal secretions, CSF, urine and rectal swab
  • The excretion of virus can persist for upto 18 months or more
  • Severity depends on the time at which the mother was infected
    • Infections in the first trimester has upto 85% risk
    • The risk decreases to 16% in the second trimester
    • Infections after 20 weeks of gestation rarely produces infection
  • It can be prevented by proper vaccination of the mother before pregnancy

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