Rubella is a disease caused by a viral infection , which causes symptoms of a red rash on the skin. Although both cause a red rash on the skin, rubella is different from measles. Apart from being caused by a different virus, the symptoms of rubella are milder than those of measles.

Although relatively mild, rubella can have a serious impact if it is transmitted to pregnant women, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. This condition can cause miscarriage. If the pregnancy continues, the baby may be born deaf, develop cataracts , or develop heart defects.


Therefore, it is important to check the body's immunity to rubella when planning a pregnancy.

Causes of Rubella

Rubella or German measles is caused by  infection with the Rubella virus which is transmitted from one person to another. A person can get rubella when he inhales the saliva splashes released by the sufferer when he coughs or sneezes.

In addition, a person can also be infected with rubella when in direct contact with objects contaminated with the patient's saliva. Rubella virus can also be transmitted from pregnant women to the fetus they contain through the bloodstream.

A person infected with rubella can transmit the virus within 1-2 weeks before symptoms first appear, up to 7 days after symptoms of the rash disappear. Sometimes, some people who are infected with rubella have no symptoms, but can still transmit the virus to others.

Symptoms of Rubella

The main symptom of rubella is a red rash that appears within 2–3 weeks of exposure to the Rubella virus . The rash will start on the face and then spread to the rest of the body. Generally, a red rash will cause itching that can last up to 3 days.

Apart from the rash, some other symptoms that can occur are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose and stuffy nose
  • Red eyes ( conjunctivitis )
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain, especially in adolescent girls
  • Bumps appear around the ears and neck, due to swollen lymph nodes

Symptoms caused by rubella are usually mild and difficult to detect. However, once a person is infected, the virus will spread throughout the body within 5–7 days.

The period that is most susceptible to transmitting this disease to others is on the first day to the fifth day after the rash appears.

When to go to the doctor

Immediately consult a doctor if you or your child experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, especially if you have previously been in contact with a rubella sufferer or suspect that you have been exposed to the Rubella virus .

Rubella is a disease that should be wary of for pregnant women. Although rare, this condition can lead to ear infections and brain swelling . Therefore, immediately see a doctor if other symptoms appear in the form of persistent headaches, pain in the ears, and stiffness in the neck.

Rubella diagnosis

The red rash in rubella has similarities to several other skin diseases. Therefore, the doctor will perform a blood test to detect the presence of rubella antibodies.

Rubella antibodies in the blood are a sign that a person is or has been infected with rubella. However, the presence of these antibodies can also indicate the patient has received rubella immunization. Therefore, the doctor will also perform a viral culture examination to confirm the diagnosis.

Rubella Treatment

Treatment for rubella is enough to do at home, because the symptoms are relatively mild. If needed, the doctor will prescribe paracetamol to relieve pain and fever, and advise patients to get plenty of rest at home so that the virus does not spread to others.

In pregnant women  who suffer from rubella, doctors will prescribe hyperimmune globulin  to fight the virus. Although it can reduce symptoms, this antiviral can not prevent the possibility of a baby suffering from congenital rubella syndrome, a condition that causes birth defects in babies.

Rubella Complications

Rubella is classified as a mild infection and usually only attacks once in a lifetime. However, rubella can have a more serious impact on people who have not been vaccinated and pregnant women. In pregnant women, this condition can cause miscarriage or trigger congenital rubella syndrome in the fetus.

Congenital rubella syndrome is known to affect more than 80% of infants of mothers infected with rubella at 12 weeks gestation (first trimester). Congenital rubella syndrome is very dangerous because it can cause birth defects, such as:

  • Deaf
  • Cataract
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Growth disorders
  • Disorders of the liver and spleen
  • Low birth weight
  • skin rash

In rare cases, congenital rubella syndrome can also cause the following complications:

  • Glaucoma
  • Brain damage
  • Pneumonia
  • Hormonal disorders

Rubella Prevention

Rubella can be prevented with the MMR or MR vaccine . In addition to preventing rubella, the MMR vaccine can also prevent mumps and measles . It is estimated, one dose of MMR vaccine has a high effectiveness to prevent rubella, which is about 97%.

MMR immunization  is recommended to be done twice, ie at the age between 12-15 months and between 4-6 years. In people who have never received the MMR immunization, this vaccine can be given at any time.

In women who are planning a pregnancy, the doctor will recommend the TORCH test . If the test results show no immunity to rubella, the MMR vaccine will be given, then at least 1 month later you can get pregnant. However, please note that this vaccine should not be given to pregnant women.

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