1. What is rubella?
Rubella, (German measles) caused by the rubella virus is a contagious disease characterised by a distinctive red rash. It is also known as three-day measles.
2. What are the symptoms of rubella?
The symptoms of rubella include:
•Headache with mild fever (102 F [38.9 degrees Celsius] or lower)
•Red, inflamed eyes
•Runny or stuffy nose
•Certain areas showing tender, swollen lymph nodes (behind the ears or neck or skull base)
•A fine, pink facial rash, migrating quickly to the trunk, arms and legs, which also disappears in the same sequence
•Aching joints, especially in young women
3. What causes rubella?
Rubella is caused by the rubella virus and can spread from person to person through:
•Droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person
•Direct contact with respiratory secretions (mucus) of an infected person
•Bloodstream transmission of the virus from a pregnant woman to the foetus
The contagious period of rubella is 1-2 weeks pre-onset of the rash and 1-2 weeks post rash.
4. How is rubella diagnosed?
Rubella is diagnosed as follows:
•A physical examination can be misleading as rubella rash can resemble any other viral rash.
•Laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis include a blood test to detect various rubella antibodies or a virus culture.
5. What do the doctors prescribe for the management of rubella?
Treatment cannot shorten the duration of the disease, but the infected patients should be isolated. Being a viral disease, no treatment is required. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen is used to treat pain and fever. Aspirin should be avoided, as it leads to a condition called Reye syndrome. Antibodies (hyperimmune globulin) are recommended for infected pregnant women.