Contributor: Gordon K. Klintworth
Congenital rubella is viral infection caused by an intrauterine infection with rubella virus. An intrauterine rubella infection between the second and sixth weeks of pregnancy may result in cardiac abnormalities, and retinal pigment epithelium degeneration. Manifestations of congenital rubella include microphthalmos, congenital rubella cataract [cataract - congenital rubella], secondary glaucoma [glaucoma - secondary], retinitis, corneal opacities, abnormal anterior chamber angle formation, scarring of the iris, ciliary body retina, and choroid may occur. The iris and ciliary body are often atrophic.and uveitis. The microphthalmos of congenital rubella often occurs in children who are small at birth and is usually characterized by eyes that are moderately reduced in size unless complicated by secondary glaucoma [glaucoma - secondary] and the microphthalmos The sclera is rarely involved primarily in rubella infection.
When rubella infects adults or children the virus disappears from the blood in <48 hours while specific neutralizing antibodies develop and protects against reinfection. In congenital rubella the virus persists throughout gestation and for many months (> 22 months) postnatally.