What is Rubella?
Rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It is also called “German measles”, but it is caused by a different virus than measles. Rubella is a highly infectious disease. It is particularly dangerous for susceptible pregnant women (inadequately immunized and without a history of infection).
What is my risk?
Rubella was once a common childhood disease. Thanks to routine immunization, the risk of getting rubella in Canada & the United States is very low. But since rubella is common in other parts of the world, it is still possible for cases to occur in Canada & the United States.
Rubella is very contagious. It is easy to catch if you are in contact with someone who is infected with the virus.
Travellers who are not vaccinated may bring rubella into the country. As a result, outbreaks may occur, especially in communities where people do not vaccinate their children.
Speak with one of our health specialists to understand your risk of contracting rubella.
How is it transmitted?
Rubella spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Also, if a woman is infected with rubella while she is pregnant, she can pass it to her developing baby and cause serious harm.
A person with rubella may spread the disease to others up to one week before the rash appears, and remain contagious up to 7 days after. However, 25% to 50% of people infected with rubella do not develop a rash or have any symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms appear between 14 and 21 days after a person has been infected.
In children, symptoms can include a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body (lasts about 3 days), a low-grade fever, nausea, and inflammation of the lining of the eye (conjunctivitis).
In older children and adults, symptoms can also include swollen glands behind the ears and neck, cold-like symptoms before the rash appears, and aching joints.
Can rubella be treated?
There is no specific treatment for rubella. Since it is caused by a virus rather than bacteria, antibiotics cannot treat the infection. The virus must typically run its course.
Get vaccinated. Speak with one of our health specialists about vaccination.
The rubella vaccine is usually given as part of a combined vaccine with other diseases.
If you are pregnant, you should delay being vaccinated until after your baby is born.