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Research Article

Fetal infection after maternal reinfection with rubella: criteria for defining reinfection.

BMJ 1989; 299 doi: (Published 23 September 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;299:773
  1. J. M. Best,
  2. J. E. Banatvala,
  3. P. Morgan-Capner,
  4. E. Miller
  1. Department of Virology, United Medical and Dental School, Guy's Hospital, London.


    Five cases of asymptomatic maternal reinfection with rubella are described that occurred in England and Wales during 1985-8 and resulted in intrauterine infection. The criteria for diagnosing reinfection are described. In four cases the rubella contact was with the woman's own children. Two women had therapeutic abortions, rubella virus being recovered from the products of conception, and three were delivered of infants with congenitally acquired disease. Though the risks associated with maternal reinfection with rubella are very small and being measured in a prospective study, it is hoped that the recently introduced augmented programme of rubella vaccination will reduce rubella in the community and therefore this small risk still further.