When rubella infection occurs during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, serious consequences can result. These include miscarriages, fetal deaths/stillbirths, and a constellation of severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). The most common congenital defects are cataracts, heart defects and hearing impairment. See Chapter 15, “Congenital Rubella Syndrome ,” for more details.

Before the availability of rubella vaccines in the United States, rubella was a common disease that occurred primarily among young children. Incidence was highest during the spring with epidemics every 6 to 9 years.[ 4 ] The last major epidemic in the United States occurred during 1964–1965, when there were an estimated 12.5 million rubella cases in the United States, resulting in 2,000 cases of encephalitis, 11,250 therapeutic or spontaneous abortions, 2,100 neonatal deaths, and 20,000 infants born with CRS.[ 5 ]

During the 1990s and in 2000, rubella outbreaks occurred among members of religious communities that traditionally refuse vaccination and among adults from countries without a history of routine rubella vaccination programs.[ 7, 8 ] Since 2001, only 3 rubella outbreaks have been reported, each with 5 or fewer cases.

Blackleg - Generalized Conditions - Merck Veterinary Manual


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