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December 20, 1965


JAMA. 1965;194(12):1317. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090250051017

In 1962 techniques became available for the identification of the rubella virus and its specific antibodies. Using these techniques, studies of the recent US rubella epidemic reveal that the disorder is a major medical and social problem. By some estimates, 50% or more of children born of women contracting rubella during the first four weeks of pregnancy have had gross congenital anomalies. The list of reported anomalies grows steadily longer as some abnormalities are not recognized until months or years have passed.1

In this issue of The Journal (p 1277), Naeye and Blanc report that infected infants have evidences of a severe growth retardation which starts in intrauterine life and continues after birth. In most body organs the anatomic basis of this growth disturbance seems to be a subnormal number of otherwise morphologically normal cells. Using Plotkin's observation that the virus arrests mitotic activity in certain tissue cultures, Naeye