Rubella infection in pregnancy and congenital rubella in United Kingdom, 2003 to 2016

Antoaneta Bukasa, Helen Campbell, Kevin Brown, Helen Bedford, Mary Ramsay, Gayatri Amirthalingam, Pat Tookey

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Rubella vaccination has been included in the United Kingdom’s (UK) routine childhood schedule for nearly 30 years. The UK achieved World Health Organization (WHO) elimination status in 2016 and acute rubella infections are rare. In the period 2003–16, 31 rubella infections in pregnancy (0.23 per 100,000 pregnan-cies) were identified through routine surveillance, of which 26 were in women who were born abroad. Five of the 31 rubella infections led to congenital rubella syndrome in the infant and three had confirmed congenital rubella infection without congenital rubella syndrome. An additional seven babies were identified with congenital rubella syndrome, although rubella infection in pregnancy had not been reported. Place of birth was known for six of these seven mothers, all of whom were born outside the UK, and in five cases maternal infection was acquired abroad. WHO Europe has set targets for measles and rubella elimination and prevention of congenital rubella syndrome by 2015. Vaccination uptake and rubella immunity is high in the UK population and most infections in pregnancy since 2003 were acquired abroad and in unvaccinated women. Every contact with a health professional should be used to check that women are fully immu-nised according to UK schedule.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17-00381
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2018


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