Prof. Olatunji Kolawole, of the Department of Microbiology, University of Ilorin, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to include Rubella vaccines in immunisation policy in the country.
Kolawole gave this advice in his research paper on “Maternal and Child Health – the Knockdown”.
He said that the drive to proffer solutions to infections associated with child and maternal health led to extensive studies of Human Cytomegalovirus, Herpes simplex virus, Epstein Barr virus and Rubella virus.
The don, a lecture in the Faculty of Life Sciences, described Rubella virus as a non-arthropod-borne Togovirus and the only member of the genus Rubivirus.
Kolawole said that Rubella was a contagious viral infection, which could spread through direct contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected person or through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.
According to him, it is a congenital virus with the ability to cross the palcenta and cause congenital infections, abortions, intrauterine death, preterm labour or prenatal infections.
“Various studies conducted between 2014 and 2017 showed a high prevalence case of Rubella virus glycoprotein among pregnant women in different study populations in Nigeria.
“It is most appropriate for Nigerian government to add Rubella vaccination to her immunisation policy to scrap the virus once and for all like other countries,” he said.
The expert in viral diseases observed that there was a potential for increase in the transmission of the disease due to the non-availability of routine childhood vaccination against rubella.
“It is not of strange occurrence where viruses become more virulent and resistant due to mutation caused by different host immunity reactions to the invading antigen and its continuous localised transmission,’’ he said.
Kolawole said that he was involved in research on genes in Rubella which could be used to predict incidence and act as a curative treatment protocols to avoid mother to child transmission which was a major congenital risk to fetus. (NAN)