Congenital Rubella Syndrome
Congenital rubella syndrome implies the appearance of the constellation of abnormalities caused by infection with the rubella (German measles) virus before birth. The syndrome is characterized by multiple congenital malformations (birth defects) and mental retardation. The individual features of the syndrome include growth retardation, microphthalmia (abnormally small eyes), cardiovascular malformations, hearing loss, microcephaly (abnormally small head), cataracts, glaucoma, and mental retardation. Deafness is common. After birth the child may develop diabetes due to gradual destruction of the pancreas by the rubella virus. The child has a 50% risk of being born with the congenital rubella if the mother is infected with rubella in the first trimester (the first third) of pregnancy. Risks still exist with infection in the second trimester.