From 1st April 2016 the rubella screening programme for pregnant woman is ending in England.
The rationale to end screening for rubella susceptibility includes:
- rubella infection in the UK is at a level defined as eliminated by the World Health Organisation
- screening for rubella susceptibility in pregnancy does not give any protection to the unborn baby in the current pregnancy
- the test may falsely reassure some women that they are not susceptible to rubella infection in the current pregnancy
- stopping antenatal screening is unlikely to result in increased rates of congenital rubella. There were 12 cases of congenital rubella reported in the UK between 2005-2015. None of these could have been prevented by the screening programme. We will continue to monitor cases following the cessation of rubella susceptibility screening
- the MMR vaccine is effective in protecting women against rubella in pregnancy
The programme will continue to run in Wales, Scotland and Norther Ireland.