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Congenital Perceptive Deafness: Role of Intrauterine Rubella

Br Med J 1971; 2 doi: (Published 08 May 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;2:300
  1. Shirley M. Gumpel,
  2. Kathleen Hayes,
  3. J. A. Dudgeon


    Rubella antibody was detected in 85 (61%) of 139 children aged from 6 months to 7 years with congenital perceptive deafness. Of the 112 children who were aged under 4 years 61 (54%) had rubella antibody (seropositive) compared with 7·1% in randomly selected children of the same age. A close correlation was found between the presence of antibody in children with perceptive deafness and (1) a maternal history of rash or contact in early pregnancy, and (2) with the presence of other rubella-type defects. Intrauterine rubella was thought to be the cause of the deafness in 82 (59%) of the 139 children, in 60 of whom deafness was the only rubella defect detected. Thus intrauterine rubella should be considered a likely cause of congenital perceptive deafness in a child under 4 years in whom rubella antibody is present.