Rubella virus mode transmission

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NAME: Rubella virus

SYNONYM OR CROSS REFERENCE: German measles(-), 3 day measles, congenital rubella syndrome (CRS)(-).

CHARACTERISTICS: Family Togaviridae, Genus Rubivirus. Each virion is 55-89 nm and contains one positive stranded RNA molecule. Genetic material is enveloped in an isometric nucleocapsid. The capsid consists of multiple copies of one virus-specific protein, surrounded in a lipid bilayer containing two virus-specific glycoproteins.


PATHOGENICITY/ TOXICITY: Rubella: Mild infection characterized by rash starting on the face and gradually spreading to the feet, fever, lymphadenopathy, and other flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and sneezing(, ). Older children and adults may experience joint involvement and purpuric rash. Rare complications include encephalitis, thrombocytopenia with hemorrhagic manifestations, neuritis, conjunctivitis, and ochitis.

Congenital rubella syndrome: Women in their first trimester who contract rubella have an increased risk of passing the infection to the developing foetus. When contracted during the first trimester the effects on the child are most marked. Ocular, cardiovascular, and central nervous system defects are common, along with deafness and intrauterine growth retardation. Contraction of rubella later in pregnancy reduces the risk and severity of symptoms. Second trimester infections are associated with deafness, retinopathy, microcephaly, and mental retardation, while third trimester infections are associated with intrauterine growth retardation.

EPIDEMIOLOGY: Worldwide(, ). Epidemics occurred roughly every 6-9 years but immunisation programmes have greatly reduced the number of cases in developed countries(, ). Infections peaks in late winter and spring.

HOST RANGE: Humans(, ).

INFECTIOUS DOSE: Thirty viral units subcutaneously, >10 viral units by pharyngeal spray, and 60 units by nasal drops are sufficient for infection.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION: The virus is transmitted by aerosols from the respiratory tract in infected individuals. Transmission may also occur via nasal and respiratory tract secretions carried on hands that come in contact with nasal mucosa.

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