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JAMA Revisited |

Immunity Against Contagious Diseases: Inadequacies

Hugh H. Hussey, MD
JAMA. 2015;313(15):1577. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.11702.
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Rubella is a mild viral disease occurring usually in early childhood. It would be disregarded except for the fact that when the disease occurs in a pregnant woman, strong likelihood exists that the fetus will suffer serious adverse effects. This fact accounts for the extensive efforts to administer rubella vaccine to all children to ensure that they will not acquire and transmit the disease to nonimmune pregnant mothers.

Schiff et al,1 reported the extent of rubella susceptibility among high school students in a remote resort town in north central Wisconsin. Blood was collected from the students during school hours and later tested for rubella immunity at the Clinical Virology Laboratories in Cincinnati. With parental permission, 127 boys and 215 girls participated, only ten of whom had received rubella immunization. Although 37% of the students gave a history of previous rubella, there was no correlation between the history and susceptibility to the disease; 48% of students with such a history were found to be susceptible.

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