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Seroprevalence of rubella-specific IgM and IgG antibodies among pregnant women seen in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria

Authors Olajide O, Aminu M, Randawa AJ, Adejo DS

Received 27 June 2014

Accepted for publication 13 August 2014

Published 6 January 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 75—83


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Video abstract presented by Okikiola M Olajide

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Okikiola M Olajide,1 Maryam Aminu,1 Abdullahi J Randawa,2 Daniel S Adejo2

1Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Ahmadu Bello University, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria

Background: Rubella is a contagious viral infection that in pregnant women leads to the infection of a developing fetus, causing fetal death or congenital rubella syndrome.
Objective: Pregnant women are not routinely screened for rubella in Nigeria. Epidemiological data on rubella is therefore necessary to create awareness and sensitize health care administrators and providers.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital between June and August 2012 to determine the prevalence of immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to rubella virus in pregnant women using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits. Seroprevalence was compared among 160 pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital and 20 nonpregnant women of childbearing age studying at Ahmadu Bello University. Prior to sample collection, questionnaires were administered to the women to obtain data on sociodemographics, awareness and knowledge of rubella, possible risk factors, and clinical symptoms associated with the viral infection.
Results: Of the 160 pregnant women, 149 (93.1%) and 62 (38.8%) were positive for anti-rubella IgM and IgG antibodies, respectively. Similarly, of the 20 nonpregnant women, 18 (90%) and eight (40%) were positive for rubella IgG and IgM antibodies, respectively. None of the possible risk factors studied were significantly associated with infection. Age and other sociodemographic factors were of little significance, and awareness of rubella was low.
Conclusion: The prevalence of rubella was high in both pregnant (93.1%) and nonpregnant women (90%), suggesting sustained transmission, which further suggests endemicity. The presence of rubella IgM and IgG antibodies in pregnant women predisposes babies to congenital rubella syndrome and emphasizes the need for the initiation of a national rubella vaccination program in Nigeria.

Keywords: seroprevalence, rubella, antibodies, pregnant women, Nigeria

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