Rubella is an infectious disease and is caused by a virus that occurs mainly in children, but can also occur in adults.
The virus is spread through droplets that come into the air through sneezing or coughing. The incubation period is 2 to 3 weeks. This means that someone who comes into contact with an infected person can get rubella up to 3 weeks afterwards. Someone is infected 5 to 7 days before the skin rash occurs and stays contagious 5 to 7 days afterwards.
Symptoms and diagnosis
In most children, the disease is mild. Sometimes a pale skin rash and light fever occurs. The rash takes about 3 days and usually begins in the face and spreads over the trunk and limbs. The lymph nodes behind the ears are often swollen and sometimes the joints are painful. The throat may turn red, but is not painful. The child may feel sick. Rubella can occur in adults with the same symptoms, but can also occur almost without symptoms. In case of doubt, a blood test is performed to detect rubella antibodies.
Infection during pregnancy
In itself, Rubella is not a serious disease. It may be very dangerous for unborn babies from pregnant women who have not yet had Rubella and are infected during pregnancy. The risk of a miscarriage or congenital abnormality is greatest in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Rubella can cause deviations in the brain, eyes, middle ear and heart of the baby.
The treatment consists of a few days of rest, a lot of fluids and, if necessary, paracetamol. Usually, the complaints disappear after a few days and the patient feels better. Children or adults with rubella should be kept away from pregnant women.
Today, all children at the age of 14 months are vaccinated with the BMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella), and when the child is 9 years of age, the vaccination is repeated.