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January 21, 1974

Rubella and the Fetus

Author Affiliations

Likuni Hospital
Malawi Africa

JAMA. 1974;227(3):324. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230160052016

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To the Editor.—  In the article "Inadvertent Rubella Vaccination of Pregnant Women" (225:1472, 1973) the authors conclude that the evidence "strongly suggests that RVV poses a definite hazard to the fetus." This conclusion is based on histopathologic similarities between the RVV and the wild rubella virus in abortion specimens. If this thesis is brought to its logical conclusion, then 10% to 50% of the 11 seronegative women plus a percentage of the 85 unknown mothers (some of the 85 had to be previously seronegative) should have given birth to babies with rubella defects, yet there was not a single rubella abnormality among the 96 live births.The evidence suggests the opposite conclusion to me—that RVV may be incapable of causing clinical rubella. The virus was isolated from seven of 119 abortion specimens. If looked for, other viruses might be found as well in a sample of abortion specimens, with some