Rubella is Latin for ‘little red’. It is a mild condition, usually passing within seven to ten days, and causes complications only in rare cases (women in the early stages of pregnancy are at risk of passing associated problems to their baby). It is contagious and airborne, but the virus may also be present on the surface of the skin.
The rubella disease is different from the rubella virus. It is also known as German measles, or three-day measles.
Thanks to the MMR vaccination it is rare now, with 12 cases reported in England and Wales in 2010, and just one case in 2011. It was once a common childhood infection.
Symptoms of rubella include:
- low-grade fever
- cold and flu-like symptoms including headache
- a rash which begins around the ears and spreads all over the body
There is no specific treatment for rubella. Children should be kept out of school for up to a week after the development of a rash, to prevent infecting others.