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Rubella or German Measles is caused by the rubella virus. It is different from measles in that it primarily affects the skin and lymph nodes. In rare cases, rubella can lead to arthritis, encephalitis, myocarditis and thrombocytopenia. Rubella or German measles can have serious repercussions on a pregnant woman since it affect the developing fetus. It can lead to growth and mental retardation as well as malformation of the eyes and heart.

Rubella manifests in symptoms such as fever and swollen tender lymph nodes. There is rash that appears all over the body. The rashes are light pink patches that last about 3 days. A patient suffering from rubella suffers headache, loss of appetite and runny nose. There might be mild conjunctivitis. Often pain and swelling is noticed in the joints.

A virus culture helps in detecting the type of rubella antibodies in the blood. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can reduce pain and fever. Rubella is usually self-limiting and lasts for about 2- 3 weeks. There is no treatment for this disease. Rubella vaccine is part of the MMR immunization scheduled for children. A second dose is recommended again around 4 - 6 years.

MMR Vaccination

The rubella vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine; a mixture of three live attenuated viruses. It is given as part of the MMR vaccine (protecting against Measles, Mumps and Rubella). All girls should be vaccinated against German measles. This is to prevent problems during pregnancy. First the measles vaccine was developed, later the mumps vaccine and finally the rubella vaccine was developed. They were combined into a single vaccination in the year 1971. These days a vaccine called the MMRV is available which is used to address mumps, measles, rubella and varicella (chickenpox).

Vaccine dosage

These days all children are administered the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR or Priorix) in two doses.

1. The first dose is administered in 12-15 months
2. The second one in 3 years.

Women who have been vaccinated with this vaccine should avoid getting pregnant for a period of 3 months from the date of the vaccination. The first dose of MMR vaccine produces good immunity to measles (9598%), mumps (97%), and rubella (95%). The second dose of MMR is supposed to produce immunity in people who did not respond to the first dose; however a very small percentage of people may not be protected even after a second dose.


Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that affects persons who have not been vaccinated against it. The MMR vaccine, which is part of the scheduled immunization schedule affords protection against this viral infection. In severe cases, measles can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia or encephalitis. Rubella is another kind of measles but it is caused due to a different virus.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Infected children must be kept at home. Rash associated with measles is red and blotchy all over the body. Other symptoms of measles include fever, headache and loss of appetite. The patient may have cough and runny nose. Often mild conjunctivitis is also noticed. There are small whitish spots inside the mouth and cheek. They are called Koplik's spots. Typically a bout of measles lasts for 2 - 3 weeks till the rashes completely disappear.

Tags: #Rubella #MMR Vaccination #Measles
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: June 24, 2024