Rubella Virus 

Rubella virus has many properties which are unique among the Togaviruses, which is the reasoning behind its classification within its own genus: Rubivirinae.  It is the only Togavirus known to be transmitted via the respiratory route, and the disease with which it is associated, Rubella or "German Measles" was once ubiquitous in human populations.  Rubella virus can also act as a teratogen, inducing Congenital Rubella Syndrome when spread from mother to fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Rubella in the Child and Adult:

     Congenital Rubella Syndrome: 

    Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) is caused by infection of the fetus in utero during the first trimester of pregnancy.  This occurs only when the mother acquires a primary Rubella infection during the first trimester.  20% of the children born after such an infection suffer the severe congenital abnormalities associated with CRS.  These include neurosensory deafness, blindness, congenital heart disease, microcephaly with mental retardation, growth retardation, and hepatosplenomegaly.  10-20% of these children die within the first year of life.
    Due to the risk of CRS, unvaccinated women should be immunized against Rubella at least 3 months prior to conception.


Graphics obtained from MMWR vol. 46

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