(German Measles; 3-Day Measles)
Rubella is an upper respiratory infection most known for its red rash.
Rubella is caused by a virus. The virus is passed from person to person through tiny droplets in the air.
Factors that may increase your risk of rubella include:
- Never having the condition
- Never receiving an immunization for rubella
Many people with rubella do not have symptoms. In those who do have them, symptoms are usually mild and include:
- Red, spotty rash all over the body which begins on the face and occurs 14-18 days after exposure
- Fatigue, low energy, and discomfort
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Flushed face
- Red throat that is not sore
- Achy joints and arthritis , especially in adults, which may last for a month or more
Upper respiratory symptoms and fatigue occur first, followed by the rash.
Babies whose mothers have rubella during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, may be miscarried or stillborn, or they may be born with severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome, which can cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Rubella is confirmed by blood tests.
There is no treatment for rubella. Pain relievers may be advised to relieve discomfort.
The rubella vaccine is often given as a combination vaccine with:
The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at age 12-15 months and again at age 4-6 years of age. If you or your child has never been vaccinated against rubella, talk to the doctor.
Women who are not sure if they have been vaccinated should be tested. This is important if they are in occupations with high risk of exposure to rubella, such as:
- Healthcare workers
- Childcare workers
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Immunization Action Coalition
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Public Health Agency of Canada
Rubella. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116928/Rubella. Updated April 15, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.
Rubella. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs367/en. Updated March 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Rubella (German measles, three-day measles). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/rubella. Updated March 31, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Rubella (German measles). Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/german_measles.html. Updated January 2015. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Rubella (German measles or three-day measles). New York State Department of Health website. Available at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/rubella/fact_sheet.htm. Updated January 2012. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Woo EJ, Winiecki SK, et al. Adverse events after MMR or MMRV vaccine in infants under 9 months old. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2016 May 10.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Marcie Sidman, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.