Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS)

updates: last modified 03/08/2015

Up Usher Syndrome CRS

Between 1964 and 1965, there was a worldwide epidemic of rubella, also known as German measles. Pregnant women who contracted rubella in the first trimester of their pregnancy could pass the rubella virus to their developing fetus, causing the child to be born deaf, blind, with cardiac problems, developmental delays and other medical conditions. In the United States alone, approximately 20,000 children were born during this epidemic with two or more of these symptoms. This constellation of symptoms is known as congenital rubella syndrome, or CRS.

The Helen Keller National Center provides vocational rehabilitation services to adults who are deaf-blind, including those who are deaf-blind from CRS. We are one of a handful of agencies worldwide that collect and disseminate information about this low incidence population. HKNC manages a listserv for individuals with CRS, their families and the professionals who serve them. A listserv is a free Internet-based e-mail list where participants can post questions/comments/concerns about a common topic. To join the list, e-mail Nancy O'Donnell at

The Helen Keller National Center recognizes the challenges and accomplishments of individuals born deaf-blind due to CRS. In March, 2005, we hosted an international symposium on congenital rubella. As a result of this symposium, an application was made to Deafblind International to create a Rubella Network. This application was approved in July, 2006 and in September, 2007, the first Rubella Network meeting was held in Perth, Australia. The network continues to be a source of information about rubella, vaccinations and CRS.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the DBI Rubella Network.

CLICK HERE for links to additional resources about CRS.


CDC overview of Rubella


If you, or someone you know, has congenital rubella syndrome and would like more information about CRS, contact:

Nancy O'Donnell


Phone: (516) 944-8900 Ext. 326

VP: (516) 570-3626



Return to Top

Deafblind International

CRS Resources

Home Page

Copyright 2008 Helen Keller National Center. All rights reserved.