What is the cause of rubella?

How do you define rubella?

Rubella is a common viral illness characterized by an itch, swollen glands, and fever. The condition is usually tiny and insignificant unless you’re expecting it. The infection of pregnant women ( congenital rubella syndrome) usually causes miscarriage, stillbirth, or the birth of a baby with significant birth anomalies.

Rubella is also referred to as German measles or three-day measles.

What causes rubella?

Rubella causes the rubella virus, which is part of the Rubivirus Genus.

How prevalent is rubella?

Rubella is no longer common in countries where the rubella vaccine is part of their routine vaccination program. In those countries that don’t have immunization programs that are in place, rubella continues to be a minor childhood disease that can go unnoticed. The most significant burden is congenital rubella and its ravaging effects on the unborn fetus.

How is rubella spread?

Rubella is transmitted from person to person via contact with infected people’s salivary glands or nasal secretions. An infected person can be susceptible to the virus from seven days before the rash forms until seven days after. People are most vulnerable to infection when the rash begins to appear. Adults and children with rubella should avoid going to the childcare center, school, and work areas during illness. An acute rubella infection almost always grants lifetime immunity.

What are the symptoms and signs of rubella?

Between 25 and 50% of rubella cases, the disease is typically so insignificant that there could be very few or no symptoms. Usually, there is an incubation duration of between 12 and 23 days. Most people experience symptoms after 16-18 days of exposure. The most common symptoms are:

  • Sore throat, a mild fever running nose, mild fever, and anemia (may be experienced before appearing rash, and more often for adults than children).
  • Swollen or tender glands nearly always accompany rubella and are most often behind the ear (retro auricular) and the neck (occipital and cervical lymph nodes posterior). Lymphadenopathy can be seen in people who have rubella but don’t have any skin rash.
  • Mucosal involvement is the cause of The Forchheimer sign, where small or more extensive petechiae can be visible within the soft palate and Uvula during the prodromal stage of rubella.
  • The rash starts on the face and expands to the neck, trunk, and extremities.
    • It appears as pink or light red spots, about 2-4 millimeters in dimension.
    • It can last up to five days (the average is three days).).
    • It may or not be itchy.
    • As the rash heals, the skin can shed in small flakes.
    • Most of the time, it is not as common as measles.

Other signs are swelling and pain in joints ( arthralgia and arthritis). It is more common in women, especially adults, and can persist for longer than two weeks. Arthritis can turn persistent and last for months or even years.


What is the rubella diagnosis?

Since rubella is typically light or self-limiting, the diagnosis of healthy children is based on the typical history and physical exam.

The rubella diagnosis among adults, especially pregnant women, is best confirmed through lab tests, as a diagnosis founded on clinical symptoms alone isn’t reliable. The most commonly used tests are the IgG as well as IgM serology. Rubella virus is detected by swabs of the throat, urine, blood, and spinal fluid through polymerase chain reaction ( PCR) testing and molecular typing.

Additional tests are CBC to identify the presence of thrombocytopenia and leucopenia and LFT for detecting the presence of viral Hepatitis.

What are the treatments for rubella?

There is no particular rubella treatment. It is generally benign and self-limiting. Relieve yourself, maintain fluid intake, and use paracetamol to treat pain, fever, or joint pains are usually all that is needed.

What are the complications of rubella?

Rubella-related complications are uncommon in healthy adults and infants. These complications could include:

  • Arthralgia, or arthritis in adults
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Otitis media
  • Encephalitis.

Congenital rubella

Rubella is a part of the TRC complex. Infections in the initial trimester can risk 50% of the baby being affected in any way, including miscarriage or stillbirth, fetal deaths, and a congenital rubella disorder. The symptoms that are characteristic of congenital rubella disease include:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Eye abnormalities (cataracts, glaucoma, pigmentary changes)
  • Congenital heart disease (patent the ductus arteriosus).
  • intellectual disability
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Jaundice (Hepatitis)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Thyroid malfunction.

Congenital rubella is one the leading causes of blueberry muffin condition that manifests as multiple purple or blue Macules, papules, and nodules.

How to prevent rubella or congenital rubella syndrome

Rubella, as well as congenital rubella syndrome, are prevented through vaccination with active rubella vaccination. Combination measles Mumps, rubella, and measles (MMR) vaccinations are currently a part of routine vaccination programs in the majority of industrialized nations as well as New Zealand.

Rubella vaccine provides most people with long-lasting (probably for the rest of your life) immunity. Two doses are recommended in the immunization plan, with the first dose occurring between 12 and 15 months and another dose after 6 to 4-6 years.


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