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Rubella

Definition


Disease: Rubella Rubella
Category: Infectious diseases
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Disease Definition:

A contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash, which was once also called German measles or three-day measles, is called rubella.

Even though rubella and measles (rubeola) share some characteristics including a red rash, they are not the same illness. However, rubella is neither as infectious nor usually as severe as measles and it's caused by a different virus.

In preventing rubella, the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine that should be given to children twice before they reach school age is highly effective.

Work Group:


Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

Particularly in children, the signs and symptoms of rubella are difficult to notice because they're so mild. The signs and symptoms appear between two and three weeks after exposure to the virus, if they do occur. They typically last about two to three days and may include:

 

  • Inflamed, red eyes
  • Before disappearing in the same sequence, a fine, pink rash that begins on the face and quickly spreads to the trunk and then the arms and legs
  • Aching joints, especially in young women
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Enlarged, tender lymph nodes at the base of the skull, the back of the neck and behind the ears
  • Mild fever of 38.9 C (102 F) or lower


If parents think they or their child may have been exposed to rubella or if they have the symptoms of it, they must contact the doctor.

The vaccination record must be checked to make sure a woman has received the MMR inoculations in the case of contemplating getting pregnant. The virus can cause death or serious birth defects in the developing fetus of a pregnant woman if she contracts rubella, especially during her first trimester. Because of this, being protected against rubella before pregnancy is best for women.

A woman will likely undergo a routine screening for immunity to rubella if she's pregnant. However, she should contact her doctor immediately if she has never received the vaccine and thinks she might have been exposed to rubella. To confirm that the woman is already immune and not likely to develop rubella, a blood test is needed.

Causes:

A virus that's passed from one person to another is the cause of rubella. By direct contact with an infected person's respiratory secretions such as mucus, or when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can spread. Via the bloodstream, it can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. From 10 days before the beginning of the rash until about one or two weeks after the rash disappears, a person with rubella is contagious.

Although more than half of all countries use a rubella vaccine now, the disease is still common in many parts of the world. Before going abroad, the prevalence of rubella in other countries is something to consider, especially if the person who is traveling is a pregnant woman.

Complications

Complications:

Rubella is a mild infection. A person is usually permanently immune once he/she has had the disease. Arthritis in the knees, wrists and fingers, which generally lasts for about one month, is experienced by some women with rubella. Rubella can cause, in some rare cases, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or infection of the ear (otitis media).

Nevertheless, the consequences for an unborn child may be severe if a pregnant woman contracts rubella. Congenital rubella syndrome may be developed in up to 85% of infants born to mothers who had rubella during their first 11 weeks of pregnancy. One or more problems may be caused by this, such as:

 

  • Congenital heart defects
  • Growth retardation
  • Mental retardation
  • Deafness
  • Cataracts
  • Defects in other organs


During the first trimester is when the fetus has the highest risk, despite the fact that exposure later in pregnancy is also dangerous.

Treatments:

The symptoms of rubella are usually so mild that treatment usually isn't necessary; additionally, no treatment will shorten the course of rubella infection. But during the infectious period, the patient is often recommended to be isolated from others, especially pregnant women.

In the case of pregnancy, a woman should discuss the risks to the baby with her doctor if she contracts rubella while she's pregnant. She might be given antibodies called hyperimmune globulin that can fight off the infection if she wishes to continue her pregnancy. Even though this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of the baby developing congenital rubella syndrome, it reduces the woman’s symptoms.

For an infant born with congenital rubella syndrome, support  varies depending on the extent of the infant's problems. Treatment from a team of specialists may be required for children with multiple complications.

Prognosis:

Not Available

Expert's opinion

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