Sero-prevalence of IgM antibody to Rubella Virus in pregnant women in Zaria, Nigeria
Rubella is a contagious viral infection, which in pregnant women leads to infection of a developing fetus causing fetal death or Congenital Rubella Syndrome. A cross-sectional study involving 180 women was carried out between June and August 2012 to determine the seroprevalence of IgM antibody to rubella in their serum using ELISA. The women comprised 160 pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria and 20 no pregnant women of childbearing age studying at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Prior to sample collection, structured questionnaires were administered to gather relevant medical information, obstetrical and socio-demographic characteristics from the women. IgM antibody was detected in 62 (38.8%) of the pregnant women and 8 (40%) of the nonpregnant women. The majority (33: 53.2%) of the pregnant women who were positive were in their second trimester while 11 (17.7%) were in their first trimester. Infection with Rubella virus was not significantly associated with age, clinical symptoms and the possible risk factors studied (p>0.05). The level of awareness and knowledge of rubella and its transmission was extremely low for both population and uneducated pregnant women had the highest prevalence (54.5%: 6/11). The study showed seroprevalence higher than any previous reports in Nigeria with almost equal rate amongst the two populations. The high prevalence suggests that an outbreak might have occurred during the time of the study and emphasizes the need for the initiation of a national rubella vaccination program in Nigeria.