By Gary M. White, MD
Rubella is a viral exanthem caused by an RNA togavirus. Also known as German measles, rubella is generally a mild illness, involving a three-day rash and low-grade fever. However, if a pregnant woman gets the disease, the unborn child can be severely affected with the congenital rubella syndrome.
- A U.S. epidemic in the mid-1960s caused thousands of infant deaths and thousands of other babies to be born with birth defects.
- In most places worldwide, the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is given to children to prevent this disease.
- It has been more than five years since there has been a German measles case that originated in North or South America.
- It is spread through coughing or sneezing.
The maculopapular rash starts at the face and spreads downward over several days. A significant fever may accompany the rash. An arthritis may affect females.
Usually, no treatment other than supportive care is needed.
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