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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.