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Rubella blamed for Swedish infant's defects

Rubella blamed for Swedish infant's defects

Published: 23 Dec 2011 09:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Dec 2011 09:41 GMT+01:00

Since vaccination began in the 1970s rubella has all but disappeared in Sweden.

But a 22-year-old woman who lives in Halland, in southern Sweden, but was born in a country where vaccination against the disease is rare, caught the disease while visiting her home country during the early stages of her pregnancy, according to the local Hallands-Posten newspaper.

It is well known that rubella can cause birth defects. The viral infectious disease often has mild symptoms, with a spreading rash and sometimes a fever.

However, the major issue with the disease is that those infected whilst pregnant have a high risk of suffering a miscarriage, or giving birth to a child with birth defects.

The woman's child was born prematurely and with a number of defects, including problems with its eyes, ears, and heart.

"This case shows that we need to improve our screening of the people who come here from other countries, where the vaccination programmes aren't as built out as ours," said Maria Löfgren, assistant epidemiologist in Halland, to the newspaper.

Through the Swedish vaccination programme, the risk of infection here is minimal.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:51 December 23, 2011 by StockholmSam
The woman should have known to ask her doctor about disease risks before travelling abroad while pregnant. Did she not take a health class in gymnasium or högstadiet? Also, her caregivers/doctors/midwife should have been on top of this.
20:37 December 23, 2011 by Douglas Garner
She was visiting her "home country" so it would be less likely to even think of it. We could just as well ask why her doctor here in Sweden did not discuss the risk with her at her initial visit... of course, it may have already been to late. All we can do now is wish for the best interest of the child and that Swedish MD's ask more detailed questions about vaccinations of new immigrants.
09:58 December 24, 2011 by VicTaulic
What is the "home country" of which you speak? Dare not the name be mentioned?
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