Rubella Vaccine: Risk for Chronic Arthritis

The Rubella Vaccine was first licensed in the united States in 1969 and first issued in 1972. Since then, chronic arthritis has been reported in those who have had the vaccine. Reports that the rubella vaccine was associated with chronic arthritis brought awareness to the concerned public.

While the Institute of Medicine in the United States inquired about the connection, it was also established that further studies were needed to establish whether or not there was an association. However, in other existing case reports, there seemed to be a connection – at least a temporal one. The Rubella Virus itself had been reported to trigger arthritis in a large number of patients and during the past 10 years at least 100 cases have been reported.

In one particular case, a 10-year-old girl developed sclerotic and destructive metaphyseal lesions after a Rubella Vaccination and then later developed destructive arthritis. Just one week after her rubella (German measles) and measles (rubeola) vaccinations, she developed vague lower-extremity pain that lasted seven days, followed by high temperatures, bilateral thigh pain and a macular rash over the anterior trunk (lasting three days). Penicillin V treatment allowed her to be well for several days, but then swelling, tenderness, increased warmth and intermittent erythema developed over the medial malleoi. While the increased warmth and erythema subsided, gradually, the pain and tenderness was persistent and landed her in the hospital – eight months after vaccination!
While symptoms associated with rubella illness and vaccines usually resolve within a short period of time, they could recur and persist up to five years.

Conflicting reports about Rubella Vaccine relating to arthritis studies continue to appear.



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