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Congenital rubella syndrome

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Alternate names

Rubella congenital; Congenital rubella syndrome; CRS


Congenital rubella refers to the group of birth defects that occur in an infant whose mother is infected with the virus that causes German measles (rubella) during pregnancy.

Cataracts due to Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) PHIL 4284 lores.jpg
Congenital Rubella Syndrome, Salt and Pepper Retinopathy.jpg


  • Congenital rubella occurs when the rubella virus in the mother affects the developing baby in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
  • After the fourth month, if the mother has a rubella infection, it is less likely to harm the developing baby.

Pregnant women and their unborn babies are at risk if:

  • They are not vaccinated for rubella
  • They have not had the disease in the past

Signs and symptoms

The most common problems are hearing loss due to damage to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain (sensorineural hearing loss), ocular abnormalities (cataract, infantile glaucoma, and pigmentary retinopathy) and heart problems. Other symptoms and signs may include intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity, stillbirth, miscarriage, neurological problems (intellectual disability, low muscle tone, very small head), liver and spleen enlargement (hepatosplenomegaly), jaundice, skin problems, anemia, hormonal problems, and other issues.

Clinical presentation

For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. 80%-99% of people have these symptoms

30%-79% of people have these symptoms

5%-29% of people have these symptoms

  • Abnormality of the metaphysis(Abnormality of the wide portion of a long bone)
  • Corneal opacity
  • Jaundice(Yellow skin)
  • Seizure
  • Type I diabetes mellitus(Type 1 diabetes)


The baby's health care provider will run blood and urine tests to check for the virus.


There is no specific treatment for congenital rubella. The treatment is symptom-based.

NIH genetic and rare disease info

Congenital rubella syndrome is a rare disease.

Latest research - Congenital rubella syndrome

Clinical trials


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