Rubella is a viral and contagious infection that mainly affects children and young adults. It can cause birth defects that can be prevented by vaccination and there is currently no treatment. For this reason, it is important to know how this virus behaves in pregnant women and if the vaccine is applicable or not in pregnant women.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rubella can be serious for pregnant women, due to the so-called scongenital rubella syndrome (CRS). An infected woman during the first 16 weeks (especially the first 8 or 10 weeks) of pregnancy may miscarry, give birth to a stillborn baby, or be born with birth defects.
The rubella virus is transmitted by airborne droplets, when infected people sneeze or cough. Humans are the only host reported in the studies. Epidemics occur at intervals during the spring. The biggest epidemics occur every 6 to 9 years. According to the report 'Rubella in pregnancy', from the Microbiology Service. Elche General University Hospital, Miguel Hernández University, Elche (Alicante-Spain), people who have received the vaccine do not transmit the disease but the virus can be isolated in their pharynx.
In developed countries today the number of cases is decreasing, since there has been a vaccine to prevent it for many years. However, there has been a very unfortunate small spike in cases due to the irresponsible tendency of 'anti vaccine' parents.
When the rubella virus infects a pregnant woman in the early stages of pregnancy, the chance that the woman will transmit the virus to the fetus is 90%. This can cause the death of the fetus or lead to congenital rubella syndrome. Infants with congenital rubella syndrome can shed the virus for a year or more.
How do you know if family members are going through rubella? What are the first symptoms that can alert us to them? In children, a skin rash (50 to 80% of cases) can be seen on the face and neck before progressing to the feet, and remains so for 1 to 3 days. Mild fever (less than 39 ° C), nausea, mild conjunctivitis, and swollen lymph nodes are also common.
In the case of adults, the symptoms are very similar to children, although it should be noted that it is a disease that occurs more frequently in women and that can lead to joint pain, usually 3 to 10 days.
Once the infection is contracted, the virus spreads throughout the body in about 5 to 7 days. Symptoms usually appear two to three weeks after exposure. The most contagious period is usually 1 to 5 days after the appearance of the rash.
Children with congenital rubella syndrome can suffer from hearing defects, heart and eye defects, and other permanent disorders such as autism, diabetes mellitus, and thyroid dysfunction, many of which require expensive treatment, surgery, and other expensive care modalities.
The highest risk of congenital rubella syndrome It is recorded in countries where women of childbearing age do not have immunity against the infection (acquired by vaccination or by having contracted the disease before). Before the introduction of the vaccine, up to four children out of every 1,000 live births were born with congenital rubella syndrome.
About the vaccine, I will tell you that it contains a live attenuated virus strain that confers a long-term level of immunity greater than 95%, something similar to that generated by natural infection. It is available in monovalent preparations (vaccine directed only at one pathogen) or in combination with other vaccines (such as the combined measles and rubella, measles, mumps, and rubella, or rubella, measles, mumps, and chickenpox vaccines).
Do not be afraid of possible adverse reactions to the vaccine as they are generally mild. Pain and redness at the injection site and, in some cases, mild fever, rash, and muscle aches are possible.
The evidence currently available indicates that there is no real risk of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) if the rubella vaccine is given to a pregnant woman or during the months before conception.
One of the study studies of 680 live births to susceptible mothers who were inadvertently vaccinated three months before conception or during pregnancy showed that no cases of CRS occurred, so the real risk is 'zero'.
Therefore, in recent years there have been changes in the recommendations for vaccination against rubella during pregnancy. Thus, the recommendation to wait three months to get pregnant after rubella vaccination, raised by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), was reduced to 28 days.
In other words, if you know that you are pregnant, it is not recommended that you get vaccinated against rubella due to this 'theoretical' risk described. But if you already got vaccinated during pregnancy due to ignorance about it, don't worry! Since no damage to the fetus has been shown and, therefore, it is not recommended that you consider an abortion for this reason. If you are planning a pregnancy and want to get vaccinated against rubella, you can do it 28 days (or more) before you plan your pregnancy.
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