Rubella

Rubella is a viral illness that spreads easily. After you have had rubella, you will not get sick with it again.

  • Causes

    Rubella is caused by a virus. It is passed from person to person through tiny droplets in the air.

  • Definition

    Rubella is a viral illness that spreads easily. After you have had rubella, you will not get sick with it again.

    Rubella Rash
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Rubella is confirmed by blood tests.

  • Prevention

    The rubella vaccine is often given as a combination vaccine with:

    • Measles
      and
      mumps
      vaccine (MMR)

    • Measles, mumps, and
      varicella
      vaccine (MMRV)

    The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at age 12-15 months and again at age 4-6 years. If you or your child has never been vaccinated against rubella, talk to the doctor.

    Women who are not sure if they have been vaccinated should be tested. This is very important if they are in occupations with high risk of exposure to rubella, such as:

    • Healthcare workers
    • Teachers
    • Childcare workers

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of rubella include:

    • Never having the condition
    • Never receiving an immunization for rubella

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms are usually mild and include:

    • Red, spotty rash all over the body
    • Fatigue, low energy, and discomfort
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Flushed face
    • Red throat that is not sore
    • Fever
    • Headache

    • Achy joints and
      arthritis
      , especially in adults

    Upper respiratory symptoms and fatigue occur first, followed by the rash.


    Babies whose
    mothers have
    rubella during pregnancy
    , especially during the first trimester, can be born with severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome, which can cause:

    • Intellectual disability
      and/or behavior problems
    • Hearing problems

    • Vision abnormalities, blindness, and/or
      cataracts
    • Heart defects

    • Increased risk of
      diabetes
      throughout early life
    • Death
      in the womb

  • Treatment

    There is no treatment for rubella. To help make you more comfortable, your doctor may advise
    acetaminophen.