/* */ Rubella (German Measles) | Health Diagnosis

Rubella (German Measles)

Rubella "Little Red"

You might unknowingly be a carrier of “Little red”.

Symptoms habitually appear two to three weeks after exposure to the Rubella virus. The name rubella originates from the Latin word that means “little red.” Rubella, also known as German measles or three-day measles, are easily identified by its distinctive red rash. Rubella is still common in numerous parts of the world. The occurrence of rubella in other countries is to be considered before going abroad; especially if you’re pregnant. The disease is an acute, contagious viral infection.

Rubella should not be confused as measles (rubeola), despite of the fact that the two illnesses share a number of characteristics, such as the red rash. Rubella is cause by a different virus than measles and tends to be less severe than measles. The infection is usually self-limiting.

Rubella is typically a mild viral infection and more often than not occurs in children and young adults. If you’re not immune to rubella and you are infected during early pregnancy, it could be devastating for your baby. Your baby could be born with multiple defects and development problems such as hearing loss and brain damage. Fetal death or Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) have been reported in pregnant women after being positively diagnosed with Rubella disease. It is an unsettling fact that worldwide over 100,000 babies are born with CRS every year. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have declared rubella eliminated in the United States as a result of widespread use and availability of vaccine. Screening for rubella immunity before you got pregnant or having a blood test at your first prenatal appointment is advisable.

The characteristic for congenital rubella syndrome is:

  • Eye abnormalities (cataract, retinopathy)
  • Deafness or impaired hearing
  • Heart diseases

Additional manifestations of CRS may include, but not limited to:

  • Spleen, liver and or bone marrow (a number of which may disappear after birth)
  • Small head size
  • Eye defects
  • Low birth weight
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura (when the immune system mistakenly attacks platelets)
  • Abnormal enlargement of the liver
  • Undersized jaw

Children who have been exposed to rubella in the womb should also be monitored as they age for any sign of:

  • Autism
  • Developmental delay
  • Growth retardation
  • Learning disabilities
  • Schizophrenia
  • Glaucoma

Humans are the only known host of the Rubella infection. Rubella is a virus that’s known to be passed from person to person. It can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes (airborne) or it can spread by direct contact with an infected person’s saliva, mucus or secretions. An unborn child might get infected via the pregnant mother’s bloodstream.

An infected person is contagious from 10 days prior to the onset of the rash until two weeks after the rash disappears. Therefore, a person with Rubella can spread the infection before the person becomes aware that he or she has it.

Keep in mind that different viruses are responsible for rubella and measles, having immunity form one illness does not protect you from the other.

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