Rubella virus sero-prevalence and associated factors among non-vaccinated pregnant women in Northwest Ethiopia


  • Begna Tulu Tulu
  • Daniel Mekonnen
  • Eden Amsalu
  • Yohannes Zenebe
  • Mekonnen Getahun



Background: Rubella virus infection during pregnancy is associated with adverse fetal outcomes and reproductive failures. In Ethiopia, little is known about the extent of the disease and rubella vaccination is not widely available. The main aim of this study was to assess the sero-prevalence of the rubella virus infection and its associated risk factors among pregnant women.

Methods: An institution based cross-sectional study was conducted in the antenatal clinics of Debre Markos and Debre Tabor hospitals of Amhara Region, Northwest Ethiopia from March to June2015. Study participants were recruited until the calculated sample size was achieved at both hospitals. Data on socio-demographic and factors associated with rubella virus infection were collected through a structured questionnaire. A 5ml blood sample was also collected from all study participants and tested for Immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM antibodies against rubella virus infection using enzyme immune assay (EIA) test at the Amhara Regional Health Research Laboratory Center, Bahir Dar. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 21 and frequencies, chi-square tests and Odds ratio were computed using a p value < 0.05 as a level of significance.

Result: A total of 401 pregnant mothers were screened for rubella virus infection. The mean age of the study participants was 26.4 year (SD= 5.4) and the overall sero-prevalence of rubella anti-IgG was 46.4%. In connection, the sero-prevalence of anti-IgM among anti-IgGsero-positive cases was 3.2%. Pregnant women at first trimester (OR=2.49, 95% CI= 1.14-5.42) and HIV sero-status (OR= 0.33, 95% CI= 0.15-0.76) were factors found to be significantly associated with rubella anti-IgGsero-prevalence (p<0.05).

Conclusion: The sero-prevalence of rubella virus infection among pregnant women was considered to be low, showing the high risk of a new infection. In addition to a comprehensive surveillance approach and efforts to determine rubella susceptibility profile among school-aged girls and women of childbearing age, it is also important to consider rubella vaccine in a national vaccination program.  [Ethiop. J. Health Dev.  2018;32(3):138-143]

Keywords: Rubella virus, unvaccinated, sero-prevalence, pregnant women, risk factors, Ethiopia




How to Cite

Tulu, B. T., Mekonnen, D., Amsalu, E., Zenebe, Y., & Getahun, M. (2018). Rubella virus sero-prevalence and associated factors among non-vaccinated pregnant women in Northwest Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 32(3). Retrieved from



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