A pregnant woman is advised to do a series of tests. These are routine tests that are important for the health of the fetus as well as the to-be mother. Of these many tests, rubella test is often advised. Rubella, also known as German measles, is an infection that is caused by a virus. Most of the time the infection is so mild, that it almost goes unnoticed. Very few people develop rubella as most of them are vaccinated with the MMR vaccine (mumps, measles, rubella vaccine).
The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets when they reach the mouth, nose, and throat of the healthy person. Under optimum condition, the virus replicates and spreads throughout the body. Symptoms include a typical rash that begins around the ears. Gradually, this rash spreads around the body and appears as tiny pink spots. You will see the skin rash will change every hour and disappear on its own within 2 to 3 days. Apart from this typical rash, a patient suffers from cold, cough, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. A few patients also develop conjunctivitis. Adults may suffer from joint pain for about one week after infection.
This test helps determine if a patient can develop German measles. This test that is very important for women who are of child-bearing age or pregnant. This is because if the infection occurs during pregnancy, it can lead to complications in the fetus. Most adults in America are immune to rubella virus, due to vaccination. However, one needs to be cautious and check if they had been infected recently or some time in the past.
The test is used to determine the presence of adequate protection within the body against the rubella virus. This blood test helps in identifying people who have been exposed to the virus, as well as those who were never vaccinated against it. In pregnant women, it helps determine the antibody titer that proves there are sufficient antibodies present in their body to prevent a possible infection. In the test, IgM and IgG antibodies are checked. This test is also carried out on newborns, who are suspected to have become infected with the virus during pregnancy.
When is the Test Ordered
The IgG rubella antibody titer is checked to understand the level of immunity against the disease in pregnant women or women planning to conceive. Pregnant women who develop a rash, fever, etc., are ordered IgG and IgM tests. Newborns with congenital birth defects like hearing loss, heart defects, vision problems, central nervous system diseases, etc., are also ordered IgG and IgM tests. It is a blood test where the sample of blood will be taken from the vein.
What is the Range
After the test has been conducted, the results are given out as positive or negative. If the person is never exposed to the virus and has been vaccinated, it will give a negative result. If the test shows the absence of IgM antibodies and presence of IgG antibodies, it means the person has been exposed to the virus and is vaccinated. The result is interpreted as immune to the rubella virus. The presence of IgM antibodies with or without IgG antibodies, indicates the person has had a recent infection.
Newborns with IgG antibodies without IgM antibodies, means the mother's antibodies have transferred into the infant's body. Thus, the child is safe from an infection for the next 6 months. If the newborn shows the presence of IgM antibodies, it means the infant is infected with the virus during pregnancy. The range is as follows.
- 1:10: The person has no immunity against the rubella virus.
- 1:10 and above: The person is immune to rubella.
It is very important to get tested for rubella during pregnancy as it may prove to be dangerous for the fetus. It can lead to miscarriages, still birth, and congenital rubella syndrome. To prevent these complications, women of child-bearing age or pregnant women should undergo the rubella test. This is an absolutely safe procedure with little or no complications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for educating the reader only and should not be considered as an alternative to an expert medical advice.