Rubella virus test

Rubella test

Rubella test is performed to confirm immunity to this virus in a woman who is planning to ...

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The rubella virus test is one of the tests every woman should do before becoming pregnant. Rubella is a minor childhood disease. However, adults can also get sick with it, and then the consequences of the disease are much more serious, especially in the case of pregnant women. Pre-pregnancy testing is the basis of conscious motherhood. Thanks to them, you can be sure that now is the best time to get pregnant and we have the best chance of having a healthy baby.

1. Indications for rubella virus testing

Rubella virus testing is performed to confirm that a woman who is planning to become pregnant is immune to the virus.

In addition, testing for antibodies against the rubella virus can detect a previous or ongoing infection. This tells you if a person has had rubella or received the rubella vaccine. If so, both the woman and her child will be protected against this virus. If not, you will need to be vaccinated. On the other hand, if a woman has rubella at a given moment, pregnancy should be postponed.

Occasionally, a newborn baby who is suspected to be infected with rubella while pregnant is tested for rubella. An indication for the examination in a child is also congenital defects, which may be caused by the rubella virus.

2. What is the Rubella Test for?

The rubella virus test is a blood test that detects the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies to rubella. The examination does not require any preparation. A venous blood sample is collected in the treatment room, usually from a vein in the arm. Then the sample is sent to the laboratory where it is analyzed. The test results confirm or rule out the presence of a given antibody in the blood. The lack of IgG antibodies to rubella means that the woman has not had the disease, nor has she been vaccinated against it. The presence of IgG antibodies with the simultaneous absence of IgM antibodies indicates previous contact with the rubella virus (the woman was vaccinated or had rubella), which means that she is immune to it. On the other hand, the presence of IgM antibodies (regardless of the possible presence of IgG antibodies) indicates a recent rubella virus infection.

Since IgM and IgG antibodies do not appear until some time after infection, your doctor may repeat the test after two or three weeks. This allows you to determine if antibodies are present or if their levels are rising or falling.

Sometimes the test result incorrectly confirms the presence of IgM antibodies. This is due to the fact that the test components react with other proteins in the human body. Therefore, to confirm the result, your doctor may order another IgG antibody test to help you establish a baseline for the result that will be obtained after two or three weeks.

3. Rubella in pregnancy

Getting rubella in pregnancy can cause serious complications for the unborn baby. The consequences of infection are particularly serious if it occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, especially in the first eight weeks of pregnancy. The rubella virus can lead to malformations in the baby during this time. These defects may concern the sense of sight (glaucoma, cataracts), hearing (deafness) and the brain (hydrocephalus, mental retardation). In the earliest stages of pregnancy, rubella infection gives a 10 to 50% chance of malformations. After the twelfth week of pregnancy, the risk is halved. To make sure that these diseases do not threaten our baby, it is necessary to test for the presence of antibodies against rubella before becoming pregnant.

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