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Clinical manifestations of congenital rubella syndrome: A review of our experience in Vietnam

Toizumi, Michiko, Vo, Hien Minh, Dang, Duc Anh, Moriuchi, Hiroyuki, Yoshida, Lay-Myint
Vaccine 2019 v.37 no.1 pp. 202-209
Vietnamese people, children, developed countries, developing countries, hearing, immunity, medical treatment, neonates, quality of life, speech, vaccination, vaccines, Europe, North America, Vietnam
Rubella vaccination programs have dramatically reduced the incidence of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in developed countries. However, CRS prevalence is still rising in developing countries where rubella-containing vaccines (RCV) are not included in the immunization program and even in some countries where a part of the population lacks immunity to rubella despite the presence of RCV in the regular immunization program. This review aimed to summarize the clinical features of CRS using data from our studies conducted between 2011 and 2015 in Vietnam, wherein we examined clinical manifestations in Vietnamese children with CRS who were born after the large rubella outbreak of 2011; a series of studies dealing with CRS in North America and Europe after the 1960s epidemic; and those from countries before introduction of RCVs.This review shows that children with CRS have a variety of disabilities such as hearing, visual, developmental, behavioral, cardiac, and endocrine impairments, which have variable severity and may appear in different combinations. Some of these impairments can appear or worsen later in the lives of these children.Physicians should thus complete pediatric, cardiac, auditory, ophthalmologic, and neurologic examinations along with laboratory diagnostic testing soon after birth. These assessments should be repeated during follow-up if congenital rubella infection is suspected in a neonate. Timely intervention for cardiac defects can be lifesaving. Early introduction and continuation of speech, occupational, physical, and behavior therapies and training with appropriate medical interventions by a multidisciplinary team approach are required to maximize quality of life.