An Overview

Rubella is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. It’s also called German measles or three-day measles. While this infection may cause mild symptoms or even no symptoms in most people, it can cause serious problems for unborn babies whose mothers become infected during pregnancy. Rubella is an acute, contagious viral infection. While rubella virus infection usually causes a mild fever and rash in children and adults, infection during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, can result in miscarriage, fetal death, stillbirth, or infants with congenital malformations, known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

Mild infection that goes away within one week, even without treatment. However, it can be a serious condition in pregnant women, as it may cause congenital rubella syndrome in the fetus. Congenital rubella syndrome can disrupt the development of the baby and cause serious birth defects, such as heart abn. The rubella virus is transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. Humans are the only known host.
Rubella isn’t the same as measles, but the two illnesses share some symptoms, including the red rash. Rubella is caused by a different virus than measles, and rubella isn’t as infectious or as severe as measles. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is highly effective in preventing rubella.

Symptoms for Rubella 

In children, the disease is usually mild, with symptoms including a rash, low fever (<39°C), nausea and mild conjunctivitis. The rash, which occurs in 50–80% of cases, usually starts on the face and neck before progressing down the body, and lasts 1–3 days. Swollen lymph glands behind the ears and in the neck are the most characteristic clinical feature.
• pink or red rash that begins on the face and then spreads downward to the rest of the body
• mild fever, usually under 102°F
• swollen and tender lymph nodes
• runny or stuffy nose
• headache
• muscle pain
• inflamed or red eyes
Although these symptoms may not seem serious, you should contact your doctor if you suspect you have German measles. This is especially important if you’re pregnant or believe you may be pregnant.

Causes of Rubella

German measles is caused by the rubella virus. This is a highly contagious virus that can spread through close contact or through the air. It may pass from person to person through contact with tiny drops of fluid from the nose and throat when sneezing and coughing. This means that you can get the virus by inhaling the droplets of an infected person or touching an object contaminated with the droplets.


Since German measles appears similar to other viruses that cause rashes, your doctor will confirm your diagnosis with a blood test. This can check for the presence of different types of rubella antibodies in your blood. Antibodies are proteins that recognize and destroy harmful substances, such as viruses and bacteria.


Most cases of German measles are treated at home. Your doctor may tell you to rest in bed and to take acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can help relieve discomfort from fever and aches. They may also recommend that you stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Pregnant women may be treated with antibodies called hyperimmune globulin that can fight off the virus.


Vaccination is a safe and effective way to prevent German measles. The rubella vaccine is typically combined with vaccines for the measels and mumps as well as varicella, the virus that causes chicken pox.
These vaccines are usually given to children who are between 12 and 15 months old. A booster shot will be needed again when children are between ages 4 and 6. Since the vaccine.
How is rubella transmitted?

Rubella is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Also, a pregnant woman can transfer rubella to her unborn baby.

A person with rubella is most contagious after the rash shows up, but the disease can be spread a week before that. Once someone is infected, the virus takes about five to seven days to travel throughout the body

Congenital rubella syndrome

Children with CRS can suffer hearing impairments, eye and heart defects and other lifelong disabilities, including autism, diabetes mellitus and thyroid dysfunction – many of which require costly therapy, surgeries and other expensive care.
The highest risk of CRS is in countries where women of childbearing age do not have immunity to the disease (either through vaccination or from having had rubella).


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