Rubella (German Measles)

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What is Rubellla (German Measles)?

Rubella — commonly known as German measles or 3-day measles — is an infection that mostly affects the skin and lymph nodes. It is caused by the rubella virus (not the same virus that causes measles).

Rubella spreads when people breathe in virus-infected fluid, such as the droplets sprayed into the air when a person with rubella sneezes or coughs, or share food or drink with someone who’s infected. It also can pass through a pregnant woman’s bloodstream to infect her unborn child.

What are the symptoms of Rubellla (German Measles)?

Most rubella infections today appear in young, non-immunized adults rather than in kids. In fact, experts estimate that 10% of young adults are currently susceptible to rubella, which could pose a danger to any children they might have someday.

Rubella infection may begin with 1-2 days of mild fever (99-100°F, 37.2–37.8°C) and swollen, tender lymph nodes, usually in the back of the neck or behind the ears. A rash then begins on the face and spreads downward. As it spreads, it usually clears on the face.

The rubella rash is often the first sign of illness that a parent notices. It can look like many other viral rashes, appearing as either pink or light red spots, which may merge to form evenly colored patches. The rash can itch and lasts up to 3 days. As the rash clears, the affected skin might shed in very fine flakes.

Other symptoms of rubella (these are more common in teens and adults) can include headache, loss of appetite, mild conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids and eyeballs), a stuffy or runny nose, swollen lymph nodes in other parts of the body, and pain and swelling in the joints (especially in young women). Many people with rubella have few or no symptoms.

Rubella in a pregnant woman can cause congenital rubella syndrome, with potentially devastating consequences for the developing fetus. Children who are infected with rubella before birth are at risk for growth problems; intellectual disability; defects of the heart and eyes; deafness; and liver, spleen, and bone marrow problems.

Take action

What should I do?

While rubella isn’t as contagious as measles or chicken pox, an unimmunized baby could become infected by inhaling droplets of saliva or mucus when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

A child with rubella is considered contagious from a week before the rash appears to a week after it goes away, although he’s most contagious while he has the rash. If you’re pregnant and were never immunized, it’s important to stay away from an infected child until at least a week after his rash disappears.

  • Call the doctor if you think your baby has rubella. Because rubella is rare, your doctor needs to report any cases to the local public health department. Plus, rubella is easily confused with other illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever, so the doctor will probably want to examine your baby and take blood samples to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Call the doctor if your baby is 2 months old or younger and his fever goes above 100.4 degrees F, if he’s older than 2 months and his fever reaches 101 degrees F, if he’s 6 months or older and his fever reaches 103 degrees F, or if he has symptoms other than the fever and rash. When should I seek medical care?
  • Call your doctor if your child appears to be getting sicker than the mild course of symptoms described below:  Your child has a widespread, pink rash with fever or you think your child might have rubella.

You might ask your doctor if it’s okay to give your baby some acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you think the fever is making him uncomfortable. Never give aspirin to a child as it can trigger Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially deadly illness.

In the unlikely instance that your baby contracts rubella, you won’t need to do much because it’s usually a very mild illness. Antibiotics won’t work against rubella because it’s caused by a virus, not by bacteria.

Make sure he receives the MMR vaccine. It’s usually given at 12 to 15 months of age — and again between 4 and 6 years — as part of your child’s scheduled immunizations.

Prevention

How should I avoid?

Get your children protected with the rubella vaccine at 12 months of age so we won’t have to worry about pregnant women when kids get a pink or red rash. It ‘s quite safe to immunize the child of a pregnant woman.

The rubella vaccine is a live attenuated (weakened) virus which is usually given as part of the MMR vaccine (protecting against measles, mumps, and rubella). MMR is recommended at 12-15 months (not earlier) and a second dose when the child is 4-6 years old (before kindergarten or 1st grade).

A child with rubella is considered contagious from a week before the rash appears to a week after it goes away, although he’s most contagious while he has the rash. If you’re pregnant and were never immunized, it’s important to stay away from an infected child until at least a week after his rash disappears.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

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