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Rubella antibody screening during pregnancy in an urban area of Northern Italy

DOI: 10.4081/idr.2012.e17

Keywords: Antibodies , pregnancy , screening , rubella , vaccination

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Various countries have implemented anti-rubella vaccination campaigns with the main aim of preventing congenital infection. In 2003, Italy joined the European WHO programme for the elimination of congenital rubella and issued a special healthcare plan, one of the objectives of which was to reduce the proportion of rubella-susceptible pregnant women to less than 5% by 2005. The aim of this study was to determine the percentage of seronegative pregnant women after the implementation of this plan. Anti-rubella IgG and IgM antibodies were sought in 2385 pregnant women who attended our hospital for serological screening between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2010. They included 750 women of foreign origin (31.4%). Eight percent of the women were anti-rubella seronegative: 6.2% of the Italians and 11.7% of the non-Italians. Among the women of foreign origin, the percentage of seronegativity ranged from 5.6% of those coming from Eastern Europe to 17.7% of those coming from Latin America. The level of seropositivity among women of Italian origin is high, although the objective of ensuring less than 5% of susceptible pregnant women has not yet been quite reached in our area. However, particular attention needs to be given to women coming from geographical areas characterised by different epidemiologies and vaccination strategies because the percentage of seronegativity is in some cases double that of Italian women.


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