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Serologic Testing for Rubella



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Background

Slide 4

July 2008

Rubella is also commonly referred to as German, or three-day, measles and is caused by Rubella virus. It’s important to emphasize that Rubella should not be confused with classic measles, which is a separate viral exanthem is caused by rubeola virus.

Post-natal Rubella is transmitted primarily through direct or droplet contact with nasopharyngeal secretions. The incubation period is typically 14 to 21 days. In most cases, Rubella causes a subclinical or mild disease characterized by a generalized erythematousmaculopapular rash with lymphadenopathy and a low-grade fever.  A picture of a typical Rubella rash is shown on the right side of the screen.

Despite most cases being mild and resolving spontaneously, serious complications can occur following intrauterine infection, especially when a susceptible pregnant female is infected during her first trimester. This can result in Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS), which can cause serious neo-natal manifestations including cataracts, congenital glaucoma, hearing impairment, behavioral disorders, growth retardation, and in some cases, fetal demise.

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