Perception of rubella risk in pregnancy: an epidemiological survey on a sample of pregnant women.

Ann Ig 2019 Mar-Apr;31(2 Supple 1):65-71

Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphological and Functional Images, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.

Background: Rubella is a common exanthematous viral disease all over the world. The disease can be prevented by administering a safe and effective vaccine, and in Italy it is subject to reporting obligations. A national plan for the elimination of measles and congenital rubella (in Italian "PNEMoRC") was approved in 2003 and updated in 2010. This plan originally aimed at reducing the susceptible target population (women in fertile age, 15-49 years old) to below 5% and at eliminating the congenital form of rubella by 2015, a goal which has not been achieved yet.

Study Design: Our research work was focused on a convenience sample of pregnant women attending the antenatal classes at the two main hospitals in Messina, Sicily (Italy).

Methods: After we obtained an informed consent, we administered to 200 Italian and foreign pregnant women an anonymous questionnaire reporting socio-demographic characteristics, type of gynaecological assistance and information received about Rubella serological statu.

Results: The mean age was 30.6 years ± 5.45. The majority of these women were married, at work and with a high educational level. Most of them (75.3%) reported to be assisted by a private gynaecologist, while only 24.7% used a public facility. A remarkable percentage (62.8%) of these women reported to be serologically negative at the anti-rubella antibodies test, but, only 7.5% of them reported to have passed the anti-rubella antibody test before the conception.

Conclusion: Our results clearly show that we are still far from achieving the elimination of rubella risk in pregnancy. We are facing a cultural gap perhaps also due to a generalized loss of "historical memory" about the impact that infectious diseases have had in the past in terms of mortality and morbidity. In fact, alongside the considerable drop in vaccination coverage in the recent years, our research also reveals a reduced focus on pre-conceptional testing and limited awareness of associated risks. Furthermore, we correlated the serological status with the sociodemographic characteristics of these women and found a statistically significant correlation with their age and their educational level (P<0.05). A lot still needs to be done to improve the situation; in particular, better education at various levels could considerably increase the awareness among women about this relevant public health issue.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.7416/ai.2019.227DOI Listing
April 2019
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