Rubella, with symptoms like measles, is a viral disease that infects pregnant women leading to babies being born with a variety of congenital defects.
India has decided to introduce a new combination vaccine in its national immunisation programme to protect children against measles and Rubella (German measles).
Both pregnant women and children will be vaccinated with it. The programme is scheduled to begin july 2012.
The National Technical Advisory Group of Immunisation (NTAGI) has already approved the introduction of a Rubella vaccine in its last meeting.
Rubella is a viral disease that infects pregnant women and leads to babies being born with cardiac, cerebral, ophthalmic and auditory defects.Rubella primarily affects the foetus if the mother is infected in the first three months of pregnancy, experts say.
The Union Health Ministry so far believed that Rubella did not affect Indians. Now, the Ministry estimates that around 30,000 abnormal children are being born annually because of Rubella.Till now, most cases of Rubella got wrongly labeled as measles because both the diseases have similar symptoms and manifestations.
All women in the childbearing age are at risk of developing Rubella. Experts say, if a woman gets Rubella in the early months of her pregnancy, there is an 80% chance that her baby will be born deaf or blind, with a damaged heart or small brain, or mentally retarded. This is called Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).Miscarriages are also common among women who get Rubella, while they are pregnant.
The virus may affect all organs and cause a variety of congenital defects. Infection may lead to foetal death, spontaneous abortion or premature delivery.Usually, Rubella virus strikes in winter and spring and causes a slight fever, a rash on the face and neck, and (when teenagers or adults get the disease) swollen glands in the back of the neck and arthritis-like symptoms in the joints.
It is spread from person to person through the air, by coughing, sneezing or breathing. The incubation period of rubella is 14 days, with a range of 12-23 days.