Rubella (German Measles)
Travel Health

From: Travel Health Information and Advice

Rubella (German Measles)
Rubella is a highly contagious viral infection that can affect both adults and children and can be particularly devastating to pregnant women who have not immunized against the virus.

Cause of Rubella
Rubella is caused by the Rubella virus which duplicates itself in the uppermost part of the pharynx and in the lymph nodes and is transmitted through the respiratory system of an infected person coughing or sneezing. The virus has an incubation time of around two weeks prior to symptoms showing with the virus highly contagious during this time, when symptoms are present and for at least a week after symptoms have gone.

Symptoms of Rubella
Symptoms for many people are mild and resemble influenza, there will be a rash present which begins on the face and will then progress to other areas of the body typically lasting for three days. Other symptoms can include:

Rubella In Pregnancy
Pregnant women especially those in their first trimester are at risk of miscarriage or their babies developing Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which can lead to serious illnesses such as congenital heart disease, eye abnormalities, mental retardation, diabetes, deafness and autism.

Rubella Vaccine
The Rubella vaccine is often given along with a vaccine against Measles and Mumps, collectively known as the MMR vaccine. The vaccine is administered in two doses, the first dose is given when the child is around 13 to 15 months old and the second dose is given when the child is between 3 and 5 years of age.

Preventing Rubella
Immunization against the virus is the best means of prevention.

Diagnosing Rubella
Blood tests will show if the virus is present.

Treatment of Rubella
There is no set treatment for rubella, it is more a case of supportive care and rest. If babies have developed CRS then specialised treatment will be required depending on the individuals circumstances.