What is Rubella?
Rubella, also known as German measles, is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Rubella is passed on through droplets in the air, and is about as infectious as flu.
Under the Public Health Regulations 1988 any doctor who diagnoses rubella must inform the local authority to stop it spreading.
Although rare, a pregnant woman can catch rubella and pass it on to her unborn child. This condition is called congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). If rubella is caught within the first three months of the pregnancy, it can cause damage in 90% of unborn babies and result in miscarriage.
How common is Rubella?
In 2008 there were around 27 confirmed cases of rubella in England and Wales, and it has been almost wiped out thanks to the introduction of the MMR vaccine.
In 2005 there were 4 cases of congenital rubella syndrome.
What are the symptoms of Rubella?
The incubation time is 14 to 21 days, but some people develop early symptoms during the incubation period. Between 25-50% of people with rubella may not have symptoms.
Symptoms which occur before the rash include a slightly raised temperature, conjunctivitis, sore throat, runny nose and headache.
Main symptoms of rubella include swollen lymph nodes, a red-pink rash, a high temperature, cold-like symptoms and painful joints.
How is Rubella treated?
There is no specific treatment for rubella, and symptoms usually disappear on their own. If you have rubella you should phone your GP or NHS direct, but not visit your GP surgery unless you are advised to do so by a healthcare professional.
Self-care for rubella includes paracetamol or ibuprofen, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking cough medicine if needed.
If you have not received treatment or advice, or suffered any symptoms in the past five years choose a moratorium product.