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J Chin Med Assoc. 2010 Feb;73(2):104-7. doi: 10.1016/S1726-4901(10)70011-3.

Congenital rubella syndrome with autistic disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) consists of a group of abnormalities that develop in children as a result of maternal infection with rubella virus. CRS may lead to new physical symptoms during adolescence or adulthood, referred to as "late manifestations". Psychiatric disorders are often seen among CRS patients, with an incidence of 4.12-7.3% for autism. We report a case of adolescent CRS with autism. A 20-year-old man had received treatment with antipsychotics and antidepressants since the age of 12 years because of unstable moods, violence, and stereotypic behavior. During follow-up, he developed some insidious-onset physical problems, including hyperlipidemia, dyspnea, constipation, torticollis and a tilted trunk. Under careful survey and evaluation, some physical problems were recognized as side effects of psychotropics, which gradually subsided after adjustment of the medications, and some of the problems were considered partially as manifestations of CRS, such as progressive pulmonary artery stenosis-related dyspnea. We managed some of the patient's physical problems and then he received catheterization for pulmonary artery stenosis. His general physical condition improved and some further improvement in psychiatric status was noted thereafter. Because of a high comorbidity rate for patients with autistic disorder, the clinician should be aware of the possibility of CRS if the patient has multiple congenital physical abnormalities with a history of maternal rubella infection. If patients develop physical symptoms in adolescence, awareness of late manifestations of CRS and differentiation from the adverse effects of psychotropic medications are essential. In addition to psychiatric treatment, management of physical problems associated with CRS would be beneficial for the patients' psychiatric condition.

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