Rubella (German Measles)

Rubella (German Measles)

Rubella (German Measles) is a vaccine preventable disease. The vaccine was introduced in 1971.

Rubella can be prevented with the MMR vaccine. This protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults also should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.

MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. One dose of the MMR vaccine is about 97% effective at preventing rubella. Rubella has been eliminated from the USA since 2004 due to successful vaccination campaigns.

Rubella in Europe November 2019

According to reports published by the ECDC in January 2020;

Twenty-three countries reported rubella data for November 2019, with 31 cases reported by four countries
(Germany, Italy, Poland and Portugal) and 19 countries reporting no cases
Overall, case numbers changed little compared with the previous two months. Twenty-four of the 31 cases (77%)
were reported by Poland
Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia did not report rubella data for November 2019
Poland reported aggregate data, while all other countries reported case-based data. Cases classified as discarded

Number of cases per country of Rubella cases EU/EEA, Nov 2019 (n=31)

Key facts

  • Rubella is a contagious viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults.
  • Rubella is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects. Rubella infection in pregnant women may cause death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome.
  • There is no specific treatment for rubella but the disease is preventable by vaccination.

The rubella virus is transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. Humans are the only known host.

The disease is usually mild in children with a rash (in 50-80% of children), nausea, low fever.

Infected adults, more commonly women, may develop arthritis and painful joints that usually last from 3–10 days.

Once a person is infected, the virus spreads throughout the body in about 5-7 days. Symptoms usually appear 2 to 3 weeks after exposure. The most infectious period is usually 1–5 days after the appearance of the rash.

When a woman is infected with the rubella virus early in pregnancy, she has a 90% chance of passing the virus on to her fetus. This can cause the death of the fetus, or it may cause CRS. Infants with CRS may excrete the virus for a year or more.