RUBELLA
Frequently ask questions

  1. What is Rubella?
  2. Who are susceptible of Rubella?
  3. How Rubella spreads?
  4. What is the prevalence of Rubella in India?
  5. What are the symptoms and adverse effects of Rubella?
  6. What is the incidence of deformities in the various stages of pregnancy?
  7. What is the treatment for Rubella?
  8. When should the vaccine be taken and what is the vaccine schedule for missed doses?
  9. Can a pregnant woman take the vaccine?
  10. How long does this vaccination offer protection against Rubella?
  11. What are the side effects of this vaccine?
 

What is Rubella?
Rubella is a viral disease, which mainly affects the foetus. If a woman is infected with this virus during the first three months of pregnancy.

Who are susceptible of Rubella?
Rubella affects the foetus, if the mother is infected in the early months of her pregnancy. All girls aged 11 to 19 years and women in the childbearing age are at risk of developing Rubella.

How Rubella spreads?
Rubella is a contagious disease and spreads through air by coughing, sneezing, or simply talking.

What is the prevalence of Rubella in India?
It has been observed that around 40-45% of women in the childbearing age are susceptible to Rubella. Moreover it is surprising to know that over 2 lakh babies are born with birth defects because of Rubella infection during pregnancy in the Indian sub-continent.

What are the symptoms and adverse effects of Rubella?
Rubella infection during the early months of pregnancy may lead to congenital deformities (birth defects). These birth defects include deafness, cataract, heart defects and mental retardation in the newborns. Such children become social and economic burden for parents. Rubella can also lead to abortions. The chances of developing these deformities are very high if the infection occurs in the first three months of pregnancy. The following table gives the chances of a particular deformity developing:

Hearing loss
92%
Congenital Heart Disease
65%
Impaired vision
56%
Behaviour disorders
32%
Neurological deficit residual
26%
Hearing and visual defect
19%
Diabetes mellitus
01%

What is the incidence of deformities in the various stages of pregnancy?
The Rubella virus interferes with the development of organs in the foetus. Therefore, depending on the time of pregnancy and the organs developing during that time, the type and the chances of deformities developing in the child varies. The risk of deformities developing is as follows:
Time of maternal infection
Result
1-2 weeks
Harmless
3-11 weeks
100% infected fetus
12 weeks
80% infected fetus
13-14 weeks
54% infected fetus
15-16 weeks
35% infected fetus
23-26 weeks
25% infected fetus

What is the treatment for Rubella?
Unfortunately there is no treatment for Rubella. Vaccination is the only way to prevent all these complications.

When should the vaccine be taken and what is the vaccine schedule for missed doses?
Children can be protected against Rubella with a dose of MMR at 12-15 months. If missed anytime up to the age of 12-13 years. Moreover, a separate vaccine against Rubella is also available (R-Vac).
R-Vac should be given to:
· all girls at puberty (12 years and above)
· all women of child bearing age and if missed
· Post delivery.
Even males should be vaccinated against Rubella because infected males can transmit this virus to the females of their family.

Can a pregnant woman take the vaccine?
No, rubella vaccine is not to be taken by a pregnant woman. Pregnancy must be avoided for 28 days following R-Vac. This is a precaution that must be taken.

How long does this vaccination offer protection against Rubella?
Vaccine against Rubella offers long-term protection. Clinical reports state that sufficient antibodies are present in the blood even after 21 years of vaccination.

What are the side effects of this vaccine?
Usually both R-Vac as well as MMR (Tresivac) is well tolerated. However, in rare cases there are some chances of mild reactions like low fever.



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