Rubella is a common communicable disease in children and young adults caused by the rubella virus. Its name was derived from latin meaning "little red". It is called German measles because it was first discovered by German physicians in the eighteenth century. The incubation period is from 14 - 21 days. It is acquired/transmitted through the respiratory route (can be passed along by the breath of a person sick from rubella).
Signs and Symptoms
- Enlarged Cervical and postauricular lymph nodes (lymph nodes behind the ears)
- Low grade fever
- runny nose
- sore throat
- joint pains
- Faint pink to red rashes which develop on the face that spread down to the trunk and extremities 1-4 days after the onset of the first symptoms.
Prevention for the Rubella Virus is usually given as part of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) Vaccine. The first dose of the vaccine should be given to children at least 12-18 months of age and the second dose at 36 months of age as recommended by The World Health Organization. It is also recommended that adolescent girls should be given another shot of the vaccine so that they wont contract the disease when they got pregnant. There is no specific treatment to rubella because this disease is self-limiting however, management of the symptoms are done to minimize discomfort. Isolation of affected person is usually done to avoid transmission of the disease.
Congenital Defects caused by Rubella
- Congenital heart defects (Patent Ductus Arteriosus is the most common)
- Severe to Profound bilateral hearing loss
- Unilateral or bilateral congenital cataract
The rashes from Rubella are usually faint pink to red in color which spreads from the face down to the trunk and extremities.