Rubella is a virus-borne infectious disease. The predominant sign of rubella virus infection is the formation of a rash (exanthem) on the face that spreads to the trunk and limbs and normally dissipates within three days, hence the name "German measles."
Rubella is usually mild in children, with few apparent signs. A red rash is usually the first sign in youngsters who have symptoms. The rash usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body, lasting three days in most cases. Other signs and symptoms that may arise 1 to 5 days before the rash appear are:
- a low-grade fever
- mild pink eye
- general discomfort
- swollen and enlarged lymph nodes
- runny nose
Rubella can cause arthritis in up to 70% of women, but it is uncommon in children and males. Rubella can cause catastrophic complications in rare circumstances, such as brain infections and bleeding.
The most dangerous side effect of rubella infection is the harm it can cause to a pregnant woman's unborn child. If a pregnant woman who has not been vaccinated contracts the rubella virus, she may have a miscarriage, or her baby may die shortly after birth. She can also spread the virus to her unborn child, causing catastrophic birth defects such as
- heart issues
- hearing and vision loss
- intellectual incapacity and
- liver or spleen damage.
If a woman is infected early in her pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, serious birth abnormalities are more likely. Congenital rubella syndrome is the name given to these severe birth abnormalities (CRS).
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, rubella spreads. In addition, if a woman contracts rubella while pregnant, she can pass it on to her unborn child, causing catastrophic injury.
Rubella can be shared with others up to one week before the rash emerges and remains contagious for up to seven days afterward. However, 25% to 50% of rubella-infected persons may not get a rash or show any symptoms, but they still transfer the disease to others.
Rubella-infected persons should warn their friends, family, and coworkers, especially pregnant women if they have the virus. It's critical to inform your child's school or childcare provider if he or she has rubella.
Rubella and Pregnancy
Rubella is extremely hazardous to a pregnant lady and her unborn child. Anyone who hasn't been vaccinated against rubella is in danger of developing the disease. When the mother is infected with the rubella virus early in pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks, the baby suffers the most serious consequences (first trimester). In the United States, 15 newborns with CRS were documented between 2005 and 2018.
Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS)
Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) affects a developing newborn whose mother has been exposed to the rubella virus while still in the womb. Rubella-infected pregnant women are in danger of miscarriage or stillbirth, and their unborn children are at risk of serious birth abnormalities with lifelong implications. CRS has the potential to impact practically every organ in a developing baby's body.
The following are the most common birth abnormalities caused by CRS:
- Heart Defects
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Liver and Spleen Damage
- Low Birth Weight
- Birth Skin Rashes
Less common complications from CRS can include:
- Brain damage
- Thyroid and other hormone disorders
- Lung inflammation
Pregnancy and Vaccination
Women who are hoping to become pregnant should consult their doctor to ensure that they are up to date on their vaccinations.
Because MMR vaccination is a live virus vaccine that has been attenuated (weakened), pregnant women who have not been vaccinated should wait until after they have given birth to acquire it.
Adult women of reproductive age should wait at least four weeks after receiving the MMR vaccine before becoming pregnant.
Pregnant women should avoid MMR immunization.
Vaccination Against Rubella
Rubella is preventable with MMR immunization. Measles, mumps, and rubella are all protected by this vaccine. The MMR vaccine should be given to children in two doses, the first at 12 to 15 months of age and the second at 4 to 6 years of age, according to the CDC. MMR vaccinations for teenagers and adults should also be current.
The MMR vaccine is a highly effective and well-tolerated vaccine. The MMR vaccine is around 97 percent effective in preventing rubella with just one dose.
MMRV vaccination, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella, is also available for children (chickenpox). Only children aged 12 months to 12 years old are eligible to receive this immunization.