Seroprevalence survey of rubella infection in pregnancy at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

  • JU Onakewhor
  • J Chiwuzie
Keywords: Rubella, pregnancy, sero-markers, vaccination


Objective: To determine the serosusceptibility of rubella infection in pregnancy and the feasibility of establishing an organized prevention program in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This prospective, cross-sectional, laboratory-based study involved 300 consecutive pregnant women who gave informed consent and were screened for rubella immunoglobulins G (IgG) and M (IgM), using the ELISA-based quantitative assay at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria. Of the cohort, 30 women later withdrew. IgG seropositive samples were screened for IgM antibodies.
Results: The mean age and parity of the women were 30.0 ± 4.8 years, 95% CI 29.727-30.873 and 2.0 ± 1.4; 95% CI 1.317-1.661, respectively. IgG seroprevalence was 53%, while 10.0% of all IgG seropositive women were IgM seropositive. Most infections were acquired before the age of 35. None of the women ever had previous rubella vaccination. Rubella vaccine is scarce in Nigeria.
Conclusions: Prevalence of rubella seromarkers for previous and current infection is high. Facilities for routine diagnosis and vaccination are lacking. Initiation of organized screening and vaccination programs is limited by lack of vaccine. We recommend immunization of children and women of child-bearing age as a cost-effective public health intervention strategy for managing the sequelae of the congenital rubella syndrome.

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eISSN: 1119-3077