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Childhood diseases - Rubella

Useful information on the causes, symptoms, pregnancy risks, childhood prevention vaccine and treatment of rubella.
Rubella (also known as German Measles) is a disease caused by the Rubella virus. The virus usually enters the body through the nose or throat. The disease can last 1-5 days, but has a long incubation period of 14 to 21 days. Children recover more quickly than adults.


Symptoms of rubella include:
  • swollen glands
  • fever
  • rash

  • flaking, dry skin

  • inflammation of the eyes
  • nasal congestion
  • joint pain and swelling

  • pain in the testicles

Rubella can affect anyone of any age and is generally a mild disease. However if a woman contracts rubella in the first eight to ten weeks of pregnancy the effects on her unborn baby can be very serious, including deafness, blindness, heart, problems or brain damage.

Prevention and treatment

Fewer cases of rubella occur since a vaccine became available in 1969. Most people are vaccinated against rubella as children at 12-15 months of age. A second dose is required before age 11. Symptoms are usually treated with acetaminophen until the disease has run its course.
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