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Aim: Rubella virus screening in pregnancy has not been recommended during antenatal clinic days in Nigeria and most African countries. However, Rubella virus has been widely accepted as one of the viral aetiology of congenital transmission. Circulation of Rubella virus in the environment would increase the risk of maternal infection and possibly, congenital rubella syndrome. This study aims to determine the population of pregnant women, who are anti-Rubella virus IgM seropositive, thus understanding the burden of acute Rubella infections circulating in Rivers State.
Methods: Two hundred and seventy sera from the pregnant women were screened by Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) for Rubella virus IgM antibody. These pregnant women were attending antenatal clinics of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) and Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, both in Rivers State, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was used to collect participants’ sociodemographic data.
Results: A total of 44 out of 270 (16.3%) subjects were anti- Rubella virus IgM positive and 226 out of 270 (83.7%) were negative. There was no significant difference between IgM seropositivity and age groups, education level, gestation stage and parity. However, there was a statistical association of seropositivity rates with respect to location and occupation.
Conclusion: Findings from our evaluation indicated that many pregnant women were anti-Rubella IgM seropositive, hence the cases of acute infection were relatively high. This condition poses danger to their unborn fetuses in the absence of appropriate preventive measures.
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