Agent and Epidemiology

The rubella virus is a member of the Toga-viridae family in which the virus contains a single-stranded RNA surrounded by a lipid envelope, or "toga." The congenital form was first described by an ophthalmologist, Sir Norman McAlister Gregg in 1941. He practiced in Sydney, Australia, where he reported several cases of congenital cataracts, congenital heart disease, and deafness associated with rubell a during pregnancy [31]. This represents the first demonstration of teratogenicity secondary to a viral agent. Rubella has worldwide distribution, and is a major cause of blindness in developing countries. However, it is rare in the United States since its epidemic pattern was interrupted in 1969 by widespread use of the vaccine [3].

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