Rubella (German Measles)

What is rubella (German measles)?

Rubella, sometimes called German measles, is an acute viral infection that causes a mild illness in children and slightly more severe illness in adults. The disease is spread person-to-person through airborne particles and takes two to three weeks to incubate.

What are the symptoms of rubella?

The following are the most common symptoms of rubella. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • rash (usually begins at the face and progresses to trunk and extremities and lasts about 3 days)
  • slight fever
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • headache

Rubella in pregnant women may cause serious complications in the fetus, including a range of severe birth defects.

The symptoms of rubella may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is rubella diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnosis is often confirmed with a throat culture and blood testing.

Treatment for rubella:

Specific treatment for rubella will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your overall health and medical history
  • extent of the condition
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment for rubella is usually limited to acetaminophen for fever.

Prevention of rubella:

Childhood vaccinations against rubella (usually in combination with the measles and mumps) provides immunity to most people. People who have had rubella are immune for life.