The Risk of Rubella to Babies
German measles is a highly infectious disease caused by the rubella virus. The symptoms of the disease include fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, and rash that appears to any part of the body. German measles rarely occurs in babies, but carries an array of serious complications like mental retardation, heart defects and deafness. Rubella usually attacks pregnant women in their fourth month and could cause birth defects. Doctor’s advises pregnant women for virus vaccine immunization to avoid acquiring German measles. The disease causes serious malformation to the fetus, often subject to therapeutic abortion, and could also cause miscarriage to pregnant women. Gamma globulin a mixture of protein in the blood, is given to pregnant women to prevent the disease.
German measles is highly contagious to child bearing women during the first trimester of pregnancy. The earlier a woman acquires rubella during her pregnancy, the greater the risk of her baby. In a span of 10 weeks, the risk of rubella is reduced, though the infant may develop eye and hearing defects. During the second trimester of pregnancy, around 14-15 weeks, risk of rubella is apparent; babies are still at risk of sight and hearing complications. However, they will only experience it as they grow older. In the third trimester, the unborn baby could still acquire rubella, and if a mother has rubella the physician orders for an immediate diagnostic procedure, to determine if the baby is affected.
MMR (measles, mumps, Rubella) is a vaccine developed to fight rubella. The first dose is given 12-15 months in age, followed by the booster to be administered after 4 weeks. MMR vaccine comes with side effects; babies could manifest fever, rash after 1-2 weeks after the vaccine has been introduced. Some babies may have allergic reactions to the vaccine. Lymph swelling is an immune response of the body to the vaccine. Low platelet count is a rare side effect of MMR; Neurological side effects are coincidental, though it should be treated. The MMR vaccine has a small error rate; some people do not produce the antibodies needed to rubella after vaccination. Another possibility is that the vaccine wares off after a long period of time.