What is Rubella?
Rubella (also called German measles) is caused by rubella virus, an RNA virus of the Togoviridae family.
How is it transmitted?
Rubella is transmitted by droplet spread or direct contact with nasopharyngeal secretions of infected people. Transplacental transmission from an infected mother to her fetus during pregnancy may result in CRS (congenital rubella syndrome) in the infant. Infants with CRS shed the virus in their urine and nasopharyngeal secretions and serve as a source of infection to their contacts.
What are the symptoms?
Rubella is contagious. The incubation period for rubella is 14-17 days, with a range of 12-23 days from exposure to clinical illness. Infectiousness begins from 1 week before and at least 4 days after the onset of rash. Infants with CRS may shed the virus for 1 year or more.
Rubella infection results in a transient erythematous rash, post-auricular or suboccipital lymphadenopathy, arthralgia and low-grade fever.
Symptoms are non-specific and may be mistaken for infection due to parvovirus, adenovirus or enterovirus.
Adult infection is frequently accompanied by transient polyarthralgia or polyarthritis.
Rubella symptoms in pregnancy may give rise to congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which can result in miscarriage, stillbirth and/or fetal malformations, including congenital heart disease, cataracts, deafness and mental retardation.
Fetal infection can occur at any stage of pregnancy,but the risk of fetal damage following maternal infection is particularly high in the earliest months after conception (85% in the first trimester) with progressive diminution of risk thereafter.
Infected infants who appear normal at birth may later show eye, ear or brain damage. Congenital infection may give rise to such problems as diabetes mellitus and panencephalitis later in life.
Where is Rubella a concern?
Rubella occurs Worldwide.
Rubella infections can be prevented by immunization.
Source: © All Rights Reserved. Travel Health: Rubella. Public Health Agency of Canada, 2014. Reproduced with permission from the Minister of Health, 2014.