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January 1961

The Rubella Problem

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Am J Dis Child. 1961;101(1):78-86. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.04020020080013

Rubella was first described in Germany by DeBergen in 1752 and by Orlow in 1758. It was considered a relatively unimportant disease of childhood until 1941, when Gregg in Australia reported congenital cataracts in offspring of women who had contracted the disease while pregnant. Since that time numerous other congenital defects as well as complications of pregnancy have been documented, and these events which follow maternal rubella have become known as the rubella syndrome.

Classification of the Rubella Syndrome  The accepted components of the rubella syndrome may be classified as follows :

  1. Congenital defects occurring alone or in combination

    • Eye defects

      1. Cataracts

      2. Corneal cloudiness

      3. Glaucoma

      4. Shallow anterior chamber

      5. Buphthalmos

      6. Nystagmus

      7. Chorioretinitis

    • Congenital heart disease

      1. Patent ductus arteriosus

      2. Ventricular septal defect

      3. Auricular septal defect

      4. Tetralogy of Fallot

      5. Aortic stenosis

      6. Pulmonic stenosis

      7. Coarctation of the aorta

      8. Eisenmenger's complex

      9. Transposition of the great vessels

    • Dental defects

      1. Pointed incisors

      2. Hypoplasia of the enamel

      3. Delayed eruption

      4. Increased incidence of caries

    • Microcephaly

    • Mental retardation

    • Deafness

    • Failure to thrive

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