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J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2008 Apr;34(2):168-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2007.00689.x.

Positive rates for rubella antibody in pregnant women and benefit of post-partum vaccination in a Japanese perinatal center.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Molecular Reproductive Science, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.



This study of pregnant women was undertaken to clarify their immune status for rubella and to evaluate the efficacy of, and adverse reaction to, post-partum rubella vaccination.


We determined the levels of both rubella antibody by hemagglutination inhibition test and IgM antibody by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in the first gestational trimester and surveyed the positive rates for rubella antibody in pregnant women at our perinatal center; we recommended post-partum vaccination for women with poor immune status. We also evaluated the effectiveness of the vaccine and any adverse reaction.


Among 2741 pregnant women, 185 cases (6.7%) were seronegative for rubella virus. This rate was especially high (12.4%) in the population who had opted out of the vaccination because of a change in Japanese government policy. A total of 30 cases (1.1%) were positive or false-positive for IgM antibody, but no congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) developed. The seropositive rate was 93.3% in total, but this figure includes those who required post-partum vaccination (558 cases or 20.3%) because their titers were 16x or lower. Among 145 cases who received post-partum rubella vaccine, no severe adverse reaction was detected, and in all 37 cases with hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers of 8x or lower, the efficacy rate was 100%.


It is necessary to appropriately evaluate the CRS risk. Also, we need to emphasize the importance and safety of post-partum rubella vaccination in Japan.

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