Rubella, also known as German measles, is an illness caused by a virus. Rubella is usually a mild illness that is now rare because of immunizations. Some people have it and do not even know it.
Tiny fluid drops pass rubella from person to person from the nose and mouth. It takes 2 or 3 weeks to get rubella after being exposed to it. A person with rubella can spread it the week before they get the rash and the week after.
Adults with rubella generally feel sicker than children with rubella. It is the worst for women in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The virus can cause them to lose the baby or cause serious harm to the baby.
There is no treatment for rubella. The rash lasts for only about three days and many people do not even seek medical treatment. Complications occur more in women who can develop arthritis for up to a month after getting the rash.
The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is the only way to prevent rubella. Children should have the first dose right after their first birthday (12 to 15 months old) and a second dose before they enter kindergarten (4 to 6 years old). Not all children should get the MMR vaccine, so be sure to talk with your doctor first.
Children who have been exposed to rubella and not had the vaccine should not go to school or childcare until they have their shots or a medical exemption.
Children who have rubella should not attend school or childcare because the illness is easily spread from one person to another. They may return to school or childcare 7 days after the rash develops.
Call the doctor if:
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