Rubella (also known as epidemic roseola, German measles or three-day measles) is a disease caused by the Rubella virus. The virus usually enters the body through the nose or throat. The disease can last 1-5 days. Children recover more quickly than adults.
The name German measles has nothing to do with Germany. It comes from the Latin germanus, meaning "similar", since rubella and measles share many symptoms.
Symptoms of rubella include:
Rubella can affect anyone of any age and is generally a mild disease. However, rubella can cause congenital rubella syndrome in the fetus of an infected pregnant woman.
Prevention and treatment
Symptoms are usually treated with acetaminophen until the disease has run its course. There is no treatment available for congenital rubella.
Fewer cases of rubella occur since a vaccine became available in 1969, although decreased uptake of the MMR vaccine (e.g. in the UK) is expected to lead to a rise in incidence. In most Western countried, the vast majority of people are vaccinated against rubella as children at 12-15 months of age. A second dose is required before age 11.
The immunization program has been quite successful with Cuba declaring the disease eradicated in the 1990s and the United States eradicating it in 2005 . Every minister of health in the Americas plans to eliminate the disease by 2010.
Last updated: 05-06-2005 14:25:03