Congenital rubella

Definition

Congenital rubella is a condition that occurs in an infant whose mother is infected with the virus that causes German measles. Congenital means the condition is present at birth.

Causes

Congenital rubella occurs when the rubella virus in the mother affects the developing baby in the first 3 months of pregnancy. After the fourth month, if the mother has a rubella infection, it is less likely to harm the developing baby.

The number of babies born with this condition is much smaller since the rubella vaccine was developed.

Pregnant women and their unborn babies are at risk if:

Symptoms

Symptoms in the infant may include:

Exams and Tests

The baby's health care provider will run blood and urine tests to check for the virus.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for congenital rubella. The treatment is symptom-based.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome for a child with congenital rubella depends on how severe the problems are. Heart defects can often be corrected. Damage to the nervous system is permanent.

Possible Complications

Complications may involve many parts of the body.

EYES:

HEART:

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM:

OTHER:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

Prevention

Vaccination prior to pregnancy can prevent this condition. Pregnant women who have not had the vaccine should avoid contact with people who have the rubella virus.

References

Gershon AA. Rubella virus (German measles). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 152.

Mason WH, Gans HA. Rubella. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 274.

Reef SE. Rubella (German measles). In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 344.


Review Date: 4/14/2021
Reviewed By: Charles I. Schwartz MD, FAAP, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, General Pediatrician at PennCare for Kids, Phoenixville, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
© 1997- adam.comAll rights reserved.