Rubella is a mild disease in children and adults but causes extensive damage to the developing fetus.
Gregg1 in 1941 first documented congenital deformities following maternal rubella. Later studies showed the association of congenital deafness and rubella; in one series of children admitted to an institution for the deaf over a period of 80 years, 20% were born after epidemics of rubella. At the present time, about 40% of congenital deafness cannot be explained in the light of modern knowledge.
The overall effects of maternal rubella on congenital malformations have been difficult to establish. However, the effect of rubella on the incidence of congenital deafness was studied five years after an epidemic in an island population. Using the admission rate to the only school for deaf children on the island, the investigators studied incidence of congenital deafness by year of birth for a tenyear period, 1953-1962 inclusive, as reported in