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August 1956

Viral Infections in the Embryo

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Departments of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases, and Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, and the Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, Calif.; Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics (Dr. Adams); Assistant Research Embryologist, Departments of Pediatrics and Anatomy (Dr. Heath); Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases (Dr. Imagawa); Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Dr. Jones), and Assistant Research Virologist, Departments of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases (Dr. Shear), University of California Medical School at Los Angeles.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1956;92(2):109-114. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1956.02060030103001

The concept that viral infections of the mother during gestation may adversely affect the developing young had been accepted with considerable reluctance until the papers by Gregg1 and Swan * appeared. Since Gregg's report in 1942 on the frequency of abnormalities in children born of women who had contracted rubella during early pregnancy, there have been many confirming reports. Surprisingly little evidence has turned up in the past 10 years, however, to incriminate other diseases as causing abnormalities when they infect the mother early in pregnancy. There are several possible explanations for this fact. First, most of the easily diagnosed virus diseases, such as rubeola, mumps, and chicken pox, occur as a rule in childhood before the normal child-bearing period. Most of these diseases confer immunity, and consequently the incidence of their occurrence in young adults is rather rare. Rubella, on the other hand, does not appear to confer solid

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