Congenital rubella is a group of physical problems that occur in an infant when its mother is infected with the virus that causes German measles.
Symptoms in the infant may include: * Cloudy corneas or white appearance to pupil * Deafness * Developmental delay * Excessive sleepiness * Irritability * Low birth weight * Mental retardation * Seizures * Small head size * Skin rash at birth
Congenital rubella is caused by the destructive action of the rubella virus on the fetus at a critical time in development. The most critical time is the first trimester (the first 3 months of a pregnancy). After the fourth month, the mother's rubella infection is less likely to harm the developing fetus.
Vaccination prior to pregnancy can prevent congenital rubella. Pregnant women who are not immune to rubella should avoid contact with persons who have carry the virus.
Rubella is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination. The lesions of rubella are unique, and usually the diagnosis can be made on physical examination. In addition, your child's physician may order blood or urine tests to confirm the diagnosis.
The outcome for a child with congenital rubella depends on the severity of problems present. Heart defects can often be corrected. Damage to the nervous system is permanent.
There is no specific treatment for congenital rubella. Care involves appropriate treatment of affected systems in consultation with your health care providers.