Congenital rubella infection of the fetus may be teratogenic and cause a variety of malformations resulting from interference with normal patterns of organogenesis. Such malformations were observed in more than 50% of cases where the maternal infection occurred prior to the 13th week of gestation.
Adverse pregnancy outcome was also observed following rubella during the second trimester. In addition, the resulting chronic viral infection may persist throughout pregnancy and for many months after birth. It can result in serious abnormalities in many organ systems.
Such abnormalities as pneumonitis and bone lesions may be transitory, while others such as meningo-encephalitis may result in extensive neurological damage and be associated with seriously impaired intelligence. This chronic infection may be a source of contagion for susceptible individuals.
Hardy JB. Clinical and Developmental Aspects of Congenital Rubella. Arch Otolaryngol. 1973;98(4):230–236. doi:10.1001/archotol.1973.00780020240004
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