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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Identification of congenital rubella syndrome in Sudan

Omer Adam1, Ahmed KM Ali1, Judith M Hübschen2 and Claude P Muller2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Biotechnology, Commission for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, The National Centre for Research, P. O. Box 2404, Khartoum, Sudan

2 Institute of Immunology, Centre de Recherche Public de la Santé/Laboratoire National de Santé, 20A Rue Auguste Lumière, L-1950 Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:305  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-305

Published: 4 June 2014



Epidemiological data about congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) are scarce and rubella vaccine is not yet included in the childhood immunization schedule in Sudan. This study aimed to identify and describe CRS cases among Sudanese infants with congenital eye or heart defects.


Between February and September 2010, paired oral fluid and dried blood spot samples were collected from 98 infants aged up to 12 months. These infants were enrolled during their visits to five hospitals in Khartoum, Sudan. Clinical samples were screened for rubella IgM and for ≥ 6 months old infants also for IgG antibodies by ELISA. The oral fluid of IgM and/or IgG positive patients was tested for rubella RNA by reverse transcriptase PCR.


Our findings revealed that two children (2.0%) were IgM positive and another five children (5.1%) were positive for IgG antibodies. None of the five infants of which enough oral fluid was available for RNA investigation was PCR positive.


This study documented the presence of CRS in Sudan and highlighted the importance of rubella vaccine introduction for preventing future CRS cases in the country.

Congenital rubella syndrome; Eye defects; Oral fluid; Dried blood spot; Sudan