You've Got What?
How infectious diseases are spread and simple and practical advice for preventing the spread of infection in the home and community
Rubella (German measles) is an infection caused by the rubella virus.
Rubella is a notifiable condition1
Rubella is spread:
Rubella infection in a woman in the first 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy results in death of or damage to the fetus in up to 90% of cases. Multiple defects are common (for example, deafness, blindness, brain and heart damage, and mental handicap) and late complications are being increasingly recognised. The risk lowers to about 10 to 20% if the mother gets rubella at 16 weeks gestation and defects are rare after 20 weeks.
In other people, rubella is a mild disease. Symptoms, when present, may include:
Symptoms, particularly joint pains, are more severe in adults.
Rubella is diagnosed by a blood test. Clinical diagnosis based on the appearance of the rash is unreliable.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
16 to 18 days with a range of 14 to 23 days.
(time during which an infected person can infect others)
Up to 7 days before and at least 4 days after appearance of the rash.
There is no effective antiviral treatment for rubella. Treatment of symptoms includes plenty of fluids and pain relief if required. Paracetamol may be used to reduce fever and pain. Aspirin should not be given to children under 12 years of age unless specifically recommended by a doctor.
In addition to the above prevention points, all pregnant women:
1 – In South Australia the law requires doctors and laboratories to report some infections or diseases to SA Health. These infections or diseases are commonly referred to as 'notifiable conditions'.
Image - Rubella. Image courtesy of Public Health Image Library (PHIL), Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-USA)