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Recommended case definitions

Rubella control/elimination programs should use the following standardized case definitions, revised from PAHO's Measles Eradication Field Guide, 1999, and the WHO Recommended Surveillance Standards from the 2nd. Ed., June 1999, revised by the PAHO's Communicable Diseases Program.

  • Suspected rubella case: any patient in whom a health care provider suspects the possibility of rubella.

    In suspected a rubella case, a serum sample should be collected from the patient upon initial contact with the health provider. This sample must be collected within 30 days of rash onset to be considered adequate.

  • Laboratory-confirmed case: a suspected rubella case that after complete investigation is:
    1. Confirmed as rubella using commercially available enzyme immunoassays (EIA) for measles or for rubella IgM antibodies, and/or
    2. Confirmed by isolation rubella virus and/or
    3. Epidemiologically linked to another laboratory-confirmed case (the epidemiological link is established if any contact between the suspected case and the laboratory-confirmed case has occurred anytime during the month prior to rash onset).


  • Clinically-confirmed case: a suspected rubella case that is not completely investigated for any reason. This could include: patients that died before the investigation was complete, patients lost to follow-up, or patients without adequate specimens submitted for laboratory analysis.

  • Discarded: a suspected rubella case that has been completely investigated, including an adequate blood specimen, which lacks serologic evidence of infection, has no virus isolated, and does not have epidemiological link to a laboratory-confirmed case. If laboratory results indicate another viral infection compatible with the clinical symptoms, such as dengue, the case should be discarded as well.

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 14:04

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