What is Rubella?

What is Rubella?

What is Rubella?

Rubella, often called "German measles" or "three-day measles", is a disease caused by a togavirus of the genus Rubivirus(1). Despite similar names, the rubella virus is not related to the virus that causes measles(2). The disease is transmitted through direct contact or respiratory secretions such as runny nose, coughing and sneezing. Infected people are particularly contagious during the time the rash appears, but they can transmit the virus up to seven days before and after symptoms appear. Typically, in temperate climates, rubella cases increase in late winter and early spring.

The diagnosis of rubella requires laboratory tests, since the rash is not easily distinguishable from those of other exanthematous diseases. Tests may include samples of nasal and throat secretions, urine, and blood(3). Rubella virus is classified into 12 confirmed genotypes (1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I, 1J, 2A, 2B, 2C) and one provisional genotype (1a), grouped into two distinct clades (4 ). Genotypes 1E, 1G, 1J and 2B are among the most widespread(5).

The rubella virus is easily destroyed by ultraviolet light, low pH, amantadine, lipid solvents, trypsin, formalin, and heat.(6)

Symptoms of rubella

In children, the first sign of the disease is usually a rash that appears on the face and spreads to the feet. Nonspecific symptoms that may occur one to five days before the rash appears include cough, runny nose, general malaise, headache, low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, and swelling or redness of the whites of the eyes.(7) Symptoms in adults are usually similar to those in children, but up to 70% of women may experience arthritis or arthralgia(8) which can be persistent.(9-10) Rare complications of rubella include encephalitis (brain inflammation) and thrombocytopenia purpura (blood clotting disorder).(11) Up to 50% of people with rubella have no symptoms.(12)

Rubella in pregnancy

Rubella takes on a particular severity when it occurs in women during the first trimester of pregnancy. During this period the risk of serious consequences is high, including complications such as miscarriage, premature birth and the birth of children affected by congenital rubella syndrome (CRS)(13).

CRS can have very serious effects on a newborn, affecting almost all organs. Affected children may suffer from a variety of health problems, including deafness, visual disturbances, congenital heart defects, microcephaly, neurological abnormalities, and developmental delays(14). Statistically, up to 85% of newborns exposed to the rubella virus in the first 8 weeks of fetal development risk developing CRS. This risk drops to 50% if exposure occurs within the 12th week of pregnancy, while after the 20th week the risk of CRS becomes negligible(15).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Corvelva invites you to get in-depth information by reading all the sections and links, as well as the manufacturer's product leaflets and technical data sheets, and to speak with one or more trusted professionals before deciding to vaccinate yourself or your child. This information is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.


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