A teleophthalmology partnership between the University of Alberta and the Mbingo Hospital enabled transmission of fundus photographs to retina specialists in Edmonton, Alberta, for confirmation of the diagnosis of rubella retinopathy. Research ethics approval was granted through both the Cameroon Baptist Convention Institutional Review Board and the University of Alberta Research Ethics Board.
58 (10.5%) eyes of 29 patients showed clear evidence of rubella retinopathy. Twenty-six of the 29 (89.7%) patients with rubella retinopathy had bilateral retinal disease.
Students with rubella retinopathy were much more likely to be hearing impaired; of the 29 students with rubella retinopathy, 28 (96.6%) had impaired hearing (P < 0.0001).
One patient had undergone previous surgery for cataracts (this patient also had hearing impairment and rubella retinopathy), while no cases of congenital glaucoma were identified.
Rubella retinopathy has a characteristic appearance but may mimic other "salt and pepper" retinopathies such as congenital syphilis, as well as other toxic or inherited diseases of the retinal pigment epithelium and the carrier state of X-linked ocular albinism (see Figure 1) [16, 22].
Both eyes are affected in the majority of patients, and the most frequent findings are cataract and rubella retinopathy
. Rubella retinopathy
consists of a salt-and-pepper pigmentary change or a mottled, blotchy, irregular pigmentation, usually with the greatest density in the macula (Figure 11).