Rubella antibodies-IgM / IgG (German measles)

Clinical definition of the Rubella test
Rubella is a mild contagious viral infection which primarily affects the skin and lymph nodes causing a pinkish-red rash that first appears on the face, and later spreads elsewhere on the body. The virus runs its course in about three days and is often called three-day-measles. It is caused by the rubella virus (not the same virus that causes measles). It is usually transmitted through the air by droplets from the nose/throat i.e. when an infected person coughs/sneezes or by close contact. It can also pass through a pregnant woman's bloodstream to infect her unborn child. After an infection, people have immunity to the disease for the rest of their lives.

Why is the Rubella test done?
Rubella is the virus that causes German measles. If contracted early in the pregnancy, the infant may develop heart disease, retarded growth, hearing loss, blood disorders, vision problems, or pneumonia. Problems that may develop during childhood include autism, brain problems, immune disorders, or thyroid disease.
The Rubella test may be done to determine whether the patient has sufficient rubella antibodies to protect against a rubella virus infection, to verify a past infection or to detect a recent infection of the virus.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Rubella test is done?
Rubella is usually a mild infection and children generally have fewer symptoms. Adults may experience mild fever, headache, general discomfort (malaise) and a runny nose before the rash appears. Symptoms may go unnoticed. Other symptoms may include:

  • Bruising (rare)
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Inflammation of the eyes (bloodshot eyes)
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild conjunctivitis

A mother infected with rubella during early pregnancy may cause defects in the developing baby. The unborn baby may develop congenital rubella syndrome, which typically has a poor outcome. Children who are infected with rubella before birth are at risk for growth retardation; mental retardation; malformations of the heart and eyes; deafness; and liver, spleen, and bone marrow problems. Defects are rare if the infection occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Who should do the Rubella test (Target population)?
Persons showing symptoms of rubella, such as fever and rash and also women prior to or at the beginning of a pregnancy to verify immunity. It may be done by persons who have the need to verify a recent rubella infection or to verify their immunity to it.

What should I do before the Rubella test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Serum (Blood Sample)

Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Rubella  test results?

IgG

IgM

Reference Range*

Interpretation

Reference Range*

Interpretation

Below 5.0 IU/mL

Negative

Above 1.6 index

Reactive

5 to 10.0 IU/mL

Borderline

Below 1.2 index

Non reactive

Above 10.0 IU/mL

Positive

1.2 to 1.6 index

Grey zone

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the Rubella test

  • Cataracts
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Congenital rubella syndrome
  • Deafness
  • Ear infection (otitis media)
  • Encephalitis (rare)
  • Mental retardation
  • Microcephaly
  • Transient arthritis (common in adolescents and adults with rubella)
  • A miscarriage or stillbirth may occur

Other tests related to the Rubella test

  • Torch
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Antibody tests

Synonyms : Three day measles
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Rubella (German Measles) IgM

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