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Rubella 

Rubella
Chapter:
Rubella
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0109
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date: 26 June 2019

Rubella is normally a mild disease in children, and up to half of all cases are asymptomatic. There is no specific treatment. Transmission is by direct contact or droplet spread, and the infectious period is from about a week before to a week after rash onset, if rash occurs. Congenital rubella is the main concern, and women should have documented immunity to rubella prior to pregnancy. All health-care staff should be screened for rubella, and immunized if susceptible. Maternal infection in pregnancy is not easy to diagnose but can be transmitted to the fetus and cause serious outcomes, including fetal death, stillbirth, and serious multiple defects (congenital rubella syndrome), particularly if occurring in the first trimester. Rubella vaccine is highly effective. In many countries, including the United Kingdom, high uptake of the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in childhood prevents the circulation of infection, and both rubella and congenital rubella are rare. Nonetheless, worldwide, more than 100 000 infants are born with congenital rubella syndrome annually, mostly in developing countries. Rubella is notifiable in the United Kingdom and Ireland; cases of congenital rubella infection should be reported to the National Congenital Rubella Surveillance Programme through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit’s monthly surveillance system.

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