About expanded rubella syndrome

What is expanded rubella syndrome?

General Discussion

Congenital rubella is a syndrome that occurs when a fetus has been infected with the rubella virus while in the uterus. It is primarily characterized by abnormalities of the heart and nervous system, the eyes and the ears. The fetus is most vulnerable to the virus during the first three months of pregnancy, although pregnant women are advised to avoid exposure to rubella virus at all times. Women who contract rubella during pregnancy have a high risk of having a baby with congenital rubella.

What are the symptoms for expanded rubella syndrome?

Classic congenital rubella syndrome symptoms include a combination of heart, eye and hearing defects, although infection and damage can occur in almost every organ system. Of the abnormalities most likely to be present at birth, cardiovascular defects are most common, such as underdevelopment (hypoplasia) of the pulmonary artery and the failure of a duct connecting the pulmonary artery and aorta (patent ductus arteriosus) to close.

Low birth weight, inflammation of the Bones (osteitis), enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), disease of the retina (retinopathy), and cataracts of the crystalline lens of the eye also occur frequently. Brain infection (encephalitis), an abnormally small head (microcephaly), swollen lymph glands (adenopathy), inflammation of the lungs (pneumonitis), jaundice, reduced number of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), pinpoint purplish red spots due to bleeding in the skin (petechiae) or purpura, and anemia may also occur in babies with this syndrome.

Congenital rubella syndrome can be viewed as a chronic infection that may produce progressive damage. Central nervous system abnormalities such as hearing loss, mental retardation, behavior problems and slowness in muscular development, are frequent and significant clinical problems.

Most patients who are symptomatic, and many of those who lack signs of infection at birth, will develop some degree of hearing loss or psychomotor damage during early childhood.

What are the causes for expanded rubella syndrome?

Congenital rubella can affect a fetus when a pregnant woman who is not immune to the virus contracts rubella (German Measles). The baby may also be affected if the mother contracts rubella immediately before conception. The fetus is most vulnerable during the first three months (first trimester) of a pregnancy.

What are the treatments for expanded rubella syndrome?

There is no treatment for maternal rubella or congenital rubella syndrome. Therefore, prevention assumes paramount importance. It is most important to immunize all children, in an attempt to prevent epidemics. Children should receive rubella immunization at 15 months of age, along with mumps and measles in a combined vaccine. Many authorities now recommend that a repeat rubella immunization be given to 10-year-olds, because vaccine-induced immunity may not persist as long as naturally acquired immunity.

Women of childbearing age who are susceptible to rubella (a serum test can establish the presence of the rubella-antibody in their blood) should also be vaccinated. Until recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that a woman should wait for three months after vaccination against rubella before getting pregnant. The CDC has now (2004) reduced that period to 28 days.

Is there a cure/medications for expanded rubella syndrome?

There is no cure for congenital rubella syndrome as it is a viral infection. However, specific symptoms of the disease can be treated if your baby is born with congenital rubella syndrome, accordingly.

  • Because there is no cure for congenital rubella syndrome, the best treatment would be to prevent the virus from attacking infants.
  • Getting vaccinated can be a good move. Women who are planning on becoming pregnant should be vaccinated at least 28 days beforehand. However, women who are pregnant should not be vaccinated.
  • Rubella vaccines are available either in monovalent formulation (a vaccine directed at only one pathogen) or more commonly in combinations with other vaccines such as with vaccines against measles (MR), measles and mumps (MMR), or measles, mumps and varicella (MMRV).
Headache,Fatigue,Nausea,Vomiting,Loss of appetite,Muscle aches/pain,Sensitivity to light and sound (photophobia)

Hearing impairments,Eye and heart defects,Autism,Diabetes mellitus,Thyroid dysfunction


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