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J Med Virol. 1993 Nov;41(3):196-200.

Slow maturation of IgG1 avidity and persistence of specific IgM in congenital rubella: implications for diagnosis and immunopathology.

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Department of Virology, Public Health Laboratory, Royal Preston Hospital, United Kingdom.


Without appropriately timed specimens, serological confirmation of congenital rubella infection may be a problem. We have compared the persistence of specific IgM and low avidity specific IgG1 in 141 sera from 120 cases of serologically confirmed congenital rubella infection with the known time scales for postnatal primary rubella. The results demonstrate that the maturation of the immune response to the rubella virus is abnormally slow in congenital rubella cases both in terms of the isotype switch and especially the development of high avidity specific IgG1. Thus avidity studies may permit serological confirmation of congenital rubella for longer than is possible with tests currently in use. The pathological implications of prolonged low avidity antibody production are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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