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July 1969

Congenital Rubella Encephalitis: Effects on Growth and Early Development

Author Affiliations

From the College of Medicine, Baylor University, Houston.

Am J Dis Child. 1969;118(1):30-31. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100040032005

CENTRAL nervous system (CNS) involvement in the congenital rubella syndrome occurs during both prenatal and postnatal life. It may be associated with microcephaly, mental or motor disabilities, neurosensory impairment, and failure of somatic growth in surviving children.

The CNS is involved in a variety of ways, ie, persistence of rubella virus in the CNS and neurosensory structures (eye, ear), the effects of virus on the rate of cell growth, leptomeningitis, encephalitis, vascular damage, retardation of myelinization, and the effects of hypoxia, asphyxia, or hypoglycemia present during the acute phases of the generalized disease.

Neurologic abnormalities were noted in 81 of 100 patients with congenital rubella followed in a continuing study. These abnormalities included lethargy, full fantanelle, irritability, tone disturbances, and moderate increases in spinal fluid protein and cells. Tone disturbances, irritability, and dysphagia were prominent during the early months. At 18 months, the spectrum of CNS involvement included a wide

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