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December 1974

The Role of Viruses in Congenital Defects

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine; and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston.

Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(6):781-786. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110310029005

The rubella-induced congenital defects have, hopefully, been curtailed through the years of study that culminated in the rubella vaccination program. For other teratogenic viruses, such control is not yet in sight. Moreover, continued study of virus infections indicates an expanding role for cytomegalovirus and possibly other viruses in causing enormous damage to the health of unborn children. The social and economic drain on society of these damaged children cannot be accurately assessed. The cost of institutional care and special education facilities for children born with congenital rubella during 1964 and 1965 has been estimated to be approximately $920 million. In addition, the emotional burden to the family and to the affected individual, as well as problems of society in assisting with the social adjustment of the individuals, cannot be evaluated.