Rubella immunization or infection is an uncommonly recognized cause of acute, recurrent, or persistent musculoskeletal manifestations. After routine rubella immunization, two women presented with the onset of polyarthralgia, arthritis, maculopapular rash, fever, paresthesia, and malaise with persistent or recurrent manifestations lasting longer than 24 months after vaccination. The patients expressed rubella virus RNA in peripheral-blood leukocytes 10 and 8 months after vaccination, respectively, in contrast to repeated negative results in asymptomatic rubella-immunized controls. One patient developed significantly depressed antibody responses to rubella virus after vaccination and experienced a prolonged clinical improvement after a 3-month course of intravenous immune globulin. The second patient had normal antibody responses to rubella virus and underwent no clinical improvement during or after intravenous immune globulin therapy. Rubella immunization or infection should be considered as additional causative factors in evaluation of acute and continuing musculoskeletal syndromes.
(Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:2268-2274)