Rubella (German measles) is an infectious disease caused by the rubella virus. It spreads by the coughs and sneezes of infected people.
The illness is usually mild. However, rubella in a pregnant woman can cause serious damage to the unborn child.
Immunisation with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR vaccine) has made rubella uncommon in the UK.1
The following is a summary about the disease. For further details speak to your local pharmacist or GP.
Rubella is spread by direct contact and by coughing and sneezing the virus into the air. The incubation period is 2-3 weeks.
A person can remain infectious from 1 week before symptoms begin until 4 days after the rash appears. Infected adults/children are advised to stay at home for 4 days after the rash starts to prevent spread of the infection.1
Rates of rubella are high in regions where the rubella vaccines are not included in the nation programmes, which include:
Most people are asymptomatic when they are infected with the rubella virus.
Occasionally some people develop symptoms which may include:
More details of the rubella rash can be found here3.
Complications of rubella can rarely occur. This can include:
If a pregnant woman gets rubella virus, her baby could have birth defects such as:
Rubella is usually mild and improved by itself. There is no specific treatment. Treatment for symptoms is advisable.
Keep children away from school for 4 days after the rash appears.1
Rubella is common in some areas of the world (Asia, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and South America).
The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination is given on the NHS as a single injection to babies as part of their routine vaccination schedule. It is given
The vaccine can sometimes be given to babies from 6 months if they may have been exposed to the measles virus. It is not recommended to babies under 6 months.
MMR vaccination is also recommended for:
MMR vaccines contain live, attenuated (modified) strains of measles, mumps and rubella viruses. MMR vaccine does not contain thiomersal or any other preservatives.5
This information is taken from trusted third party websites, NaTHNaC (Travel Health Pro) and EMIS (Patient info) and use of all information has been licenced under the Open Government Licence http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/.
Although the materials are being used/replicated under the provisions of the Open Government Licence this in no way represents endorsement of Traveljab.co.uk by NaTHNaC, Emis, Public Health England, the NHS or the Department of Health and Social Care.