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.
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 in the infant may include:
The baby's health care provider will run blood and urine tests to check for the virus.
There is no specific treatment for congenital rubella. The treatment is symptom-based.
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.
Complications may involve many parts of the body.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM:
Call your provider if:
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.
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.BACK TO TOP
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.
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