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Dr Chris Steele



What is Rubella?
Rubella, also known as German measles is a mild illness that causes very few problems to the sufferer. It is so mild and short-lived that is notoriously difficult to diagnose.

Its incubation period is 2 - 3 weeks. There may be a slight runny nose with mild swelling of the glands at the back of the neck and behind the ears. This may be followed by a pale pink rash that spreads from the face onto the trunk. This faint rash may last for 2 - 3 days. The patient rarely has a fever. Adults may experience aching in the joints.

Who gets rubella?
Any unvaccinated person who has been in contact with someone either suffering from the disease or incubating the disease.

What causes rubella?
Rubella is caused by a virus, that is spread in a similar fashion to the measles virus - droplets spread from an infected person. As the old saying goes, 'Coughs and sneezes spread diseases.'

Can you prevent rubella? Simple - by immunisation with the MMR vaccine.

How should you treat rubella?
Special treatment is rarely needed. Give the child plenty of fluids and keep any temperature under control. Keep the child away from any woman known to be in early pregnancy. A pregnant woman coming into contact with a case of rubella should consult her G.P.

Rubella in pregnancy:
Many people have had rubella without knowing a thing about it. An unvaccinated adult may actually have the disease, without realising and come into contact with a woman in early pregnancy who has not had rubella or the vaccination. That unvaccinated woman may not even know that she is in very early pregnancy!

If that woman, in her early pregnancy, picks up the virus severe abnormalities can develop in her unborn baby - if she is less than 10 weeks pregnant there is a 90% likelihood of her baby being malformed. Babies affected can suffer from deafness, blindness, severe abnormalities of the heart and mental retardation.

Rubella does not affect adults - it deforms unborn babies. Make sure YOUR daughter receives the MMR vaccine in order to protect HER children from these dreadful effects.