WHAT IS RUBELLA?
It is an infectious caused by a virus and is transmitted via droplet with coughing and sneezing. It usually causes no long-term complications. However when a pregnant woman who is not immunized becomes infected, the virus can lead to serious congenital defects and can be fatal for the unborn child. The incubation period is 10 – 21 days.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The patient has low grade fever, rash and lymph node enlargement and sometimes mild joint infection. The patient usually recovers in about one week.
WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS?
Infection during pregnancy can lead to defects in the heart, brain, skin, liver, eyes, hearing and other organs in the fetus. During the epidemic in the USA (1962–1965), the rubella virus infections during pregnancy were estimated to have caused 30,000 still births and 20,000 children to be born impaired or disabled. In 1996, almost 22,000 babies were born with congenital rubella in Africa, an estimated 46 000 in South-East Asia and close to 13, 000 in the Western Pacific. Very few countries in these regions had introduced rubella-containing vaccine by the year 2008, and therefore the current congenital rubella infection in these regions is thought to be similar to that estimated for 1996.