Despite the serious consequences of rubella infection during early pregnancy, very little is known about the rubella seroprevalence in a number of African countries including Burkina Faso.
Between December 2007 and March 2008 serum samples were collected from 341 pregnant women in Bobo (n = 132, urban area) and Houndé (n = 209, rural area) and were tested for rubella-specific IgG antibodies with a commercial ELISA kit.
An overall seropositivity rate of 95.0% (324/341) was found, with a higher percentage in the urban population and in the oldest age group. Considering an antibody titer of at least 10 International Units per ml as protective, the overall immunity rate in the cohort of pregnant women was 93.3% (318/341).
The high overall seropositivity rate in the absence of routine immunization suggests a continuous transmission of endemic rubella virus in Burkina Faso, posing a threat to non-immune pregnant women.