Before conception, all women should take the rubeo-test, which allows you to know for sure if you have already contracted rubella in the past. Here’s how to read the test results.
The rubella is a typical exanthematous diseases of childhood: typically involves mild symptoms or are completely asymptomatic, but can be very dangerous if contracted during pregnancy.
Especially if contracted in the first 16-20 weeks, in fact, it can lead to spontaneous abortion , death in utero and the so-called congenital rubella syndrome which can lead to various fetal malformations, with risk of blindness, deafness, cardiac abnormalities and mental and psychomotor retardation .
Fortunately, once contracted, she leaves a permanent immunity, therefore it is no longer possible to get sick again. The same happens after vaccination: the rubella vaccine protects 100% from infection.
- What is the rubeo-test for?
- What is written on the report
- The various results: how to read them
How to know if you are immune or not: the rubeo-test
If you have not done the vaccine and you do not remember if you have contracted the disease in the past, just do a simple blood test , the rubeo test (which is one of those offered free of charge by the NHS ), which detects the presence of two types of antibodies or immunoglobulins: IgM and IgG.
- IgM are the immunoglobulins that are produced in the acute phase of the disease , therefore they are immediately detectable in the blood. They remain active for about 2 months, after which their values drop below the limit threshold and the test is negative (even if sometimes there are cases of persistence of the IgM).
- IgG are the ‘memory’ antibodies , which are produced 1-2 weeks after contracting the infection but remain positive for life.
What’s written in the report
The laboratory report indicates a numerical value indicating the amount of antibodies present and, next to it, the reference values below or above which the test can be considered negative or positive.
These are variable values depending on the laboratory that carries out the test, for this reason a legend is shown in the report that explains how to interpret the result. “However, it is always necessary to show the result to your gynecologist” recommends Irene Cetin, head of the obstetrics and gynecology unit at the Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan.
The various possible situations
- If both antibodies are negative – IgG and IgM – it means that there has never been contact with the virus: before thinking about conception, think about the vaccine !
- If the IgM and IgG are positive it means that the infection is recent (very recent if the IgG are still negative): it is better to hear the gynecologist, who will probably advise delaying the search for pregnancy for some time (one-two months).
- If the IgM are negative but the IgG are positive , it means that the infection has been there but in the past and that by now it has become immunized: go ahead. “It is the most frequent and also the most reassuring situation,” comments Cetin.