German Measles : Risk Factors, Symptoms And Treatment


The most distinguishing feature of rubella, a common viral illness, is its red rash. German measles and three-day measles are other names for it. Most people may only experience minor symptoms from this virus. However, if a mother has this infection while she is pregnant, it can seriously harm the unborn child.

Although rubella and measles are different diseases, they do have certain similarities in their signs and symptoms, such as the red rash. Rubella is not as contagious or harmful as measles and is brought on by a separate virus.

The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine prevent rubella in a safe and effective manner. Immunization offers lifetime immunity to rubella.

Rubella infection is uncommon or nonexistent in many nations. However, the virus still exists since not everyone uses the vaccine. It can create severe issues for children whose moms contract the infection while pregnant.


A virus that is spread from person to person is the cause of rubella. When an infected individual coughs or sneezes, it may spread. Additionally, it can be transferred by direct contact with contaminated nasal and throat mucus. Additionally, it can travel through the bloodstream from pregnant mothers to their unborn offspring.

A person who has been exposed to the rubella virus is infectious for about a week before the rash emerges and for another week after the rash has subsided. Before becoming aware of their infection, an infected person can transmit the disease.

As a result of widespread childhood vaccination programmes against the infection, rubella is uncommon in many nations. In certain regions of the world, the infection continues to spread. Before travelling abroad, you should think about this, especially if you are expecting.

After contracting the illness, you are often always immune.

How to check if you have German Measles?

If you suspect you or your kid may have been exposed to rubella or if you detect any symptoms or signs that could indicate rubella, get in touch with your doctor right away.

Check your vaccination history to confirm that you have had the MMR vaccine if you are thinking about becoming pregnant. If you contract rubella while expecting, especially in the first trimester, the virus may kill the foetus or result in severe birth abnormalities. The most typical time for rubella to cause congenital deafness is during pregnancy. Pregnancy is the ideal time to receive rubella protection.

You will probably go through a standard examination to check your immunity to rubella if you are pregnant. However, if you have never had the vaccine and believe you may have been exposed to rubella, call your doctor right at once. The results of a blood test may show that you are already immune.

Risk Factors

In the event that they contract the virus, expectant mothers are also at high risk. Many women have a blood test to determine their immunity to rubella in order to lessen or prevent potential difficulties during pregnancy.

Given that the growing infant of a pregnant woman might get the rubella virus through her bloodstream, German measles is a serious worry. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is what causes birth abnormalities, stillbirths, and miscarriages.

As a result, it is strongly advised that women of reproductive age who wish to have children have a test to determine if they are immune to the rubella virus before getting pregnant. It is crucial that a woman has her immunisation at least 28 days prior if it is determined that she is not immune and needs one.


Rubella symptoms and indicators can be challenging to spot, especially in young children. Generally speaking, signs and symptoms start to show two to three weeks following virus introduction. They typically last between one and five days and can include:

  • 102 F (38.9 C) or lower mild fever
  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itching, red eyes
  • Big, sore lymph nodes in the back of the neck, behind the ears, and at the base of the skull
  • A little, pink rash that appears on the face, moves fast to the trunk, then the arms and legs, and finally vanishes in the same manner.
  • Joints that hurt, especially in young women


The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, is typically administered. The MMRV vaccine and varicella (chickenpox) vaccine may both be included in this vaccination. Doctors recommend that children take the MMR vaccination twice, first between the ages of 4 and 6 years and again between the ages of 12 and 15 months, prior to entering school.

The MMR vaccine provides lifelong immunity and prevents rubella. Receiving the immunisation can shield future pregnancies from rubella.

For six to eight months following delivery, babies born to women who have received the vaccine or who are already immune are typically protected from rubella. The rubella vaccine can be administered as early as 6 months of age if a kid needs protection from the disease before the age of 12, such as for specific international travel. 

Combining recommended immunisations, such as the MMR vaccine, can prevent delays in measles, mumps, and rubella protection while requiring fewer shots. The combined vaccine is equally secure and reliable as the immunisations administered separately.

The MMR vaccine has no known connection to autism.


The duration of the rubella infection cannot be shortened by therapy, and because the symptoms are frequently minor, no treatment is typically necessary. However, during the contagious time, medical professionals typically advise seclusion from others, particularly pregnant women. As soon as you suspect rubella and for at least seven days after the rash goes away, isolate yourself from other people.

The level of support for a child with congenital rubella syndrome varies according to the severity of the child's issues. Children with many difficulties could benefit from early care from a specialised team.

Complications of German Measles

 Rubella is a minor infection. Rubella can cause arthritis in the fingers, wrists, and knees in certain women, which typically lasts for about a month. Rarely, rubella may result in an ear infection or brain inflammation.

However, if you contract rubella while pregnant, it could have a serious and occasionally deadly impact on your unborn child. Congenital rubella syndrome affects up to 90% of children born to moms who contracted rubella during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This syndrome may result in one or more issues, such as:

  • Growth is slower
  • Cataracts
  • Deafness
  • Issues with the heart's development (congenital heart defects)
  • Issues with the growth of other organs
  • Learning and mental development issues

The greatest danger is in the first trimester which is the riskiest time for the foetus, however, exposure later in pregnancy is still harmful.

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Page last reviewed: Mar 14, 2023

Next review due: Mar 14, 2025

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