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February 26, 1982

An Outbreak of Congenital Rubella in Chicago

JAMA. 1982;247(8):1129-1133. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320330025020

After an outbreak of rubella in Chicago in 1978, an intensive survey of local health care personnel and hospital records identified 31 infants with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Rubella virus was isolated from 11 infants; rubella-IgM antibodies were demonstrated in seven infants; ten babies had persistent high rubella hemagglutination-inhibition (HI) titers. The incidence of CRS in Chicago between July 1978 and June 1979 was 48.9 per 100,000 live births. Mothers of babies with CRS frequently remembered a rash-illness during pregnancy (56%), were unmarried (74%), and were primigravidas (64%). No mother had received rubella vaccine. Review of prenatal rubella HI testing and follow-up immunization in one hospital showed that only eight (10.8%) of 74 seronegative women received rubella vaccine after delivery. This outbreak of CRS, a preventable disease, indicates that physicians need to place increased emphasis on detection and vaccination of susceptible adult women.

(JAMA 1982;247:1129-1133)