Also known as German measles, Rubella pertains to a relatively common childhood infection which literally means "little red" in Latin. While it is more common in children, it also affects adults. Affected adults recover more slowly than children.
Affected patients can be screened for the presence of IgM antibodies specific to the Rubella virus. Diagnosis can be supported by the appearance of the characteristic rash.
Frequently, Rubella only presents with mild symptoms and often goes unnoticed. However, an infection in a pregnant woman can lead to serious repercussions in her fetus. The child of an infected mother may be born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), a chronic and often incurable disease. If not for the potentially harmful effects of transplacental infection on a developing fetus, acquired rubella itself is a relatively trivial disease. Following an incubation period of 2 to 3 weeks, Rubella presents with the appearance of a rash on the face, spreading towards the limbs and trunks. This rash (exanthema) is typically resolved after 3 days. Other common symptoms include swollen glands and low grade fever.
Rubella is caused by the Rubella virus, which is transmitted through airborne emissions from the upper respiratory tract of actively infected humans. In some cases, the virus may also persist in the skin, feces, or urine. There is no carrier state for the Rubella virus; it exists only in active cases. Incubation period for Rubella is typically 2 to 3 weeks.
In general, symptoms of Rubella infection are resolved with paracetamol treatment. Pharmacological intervention to manage mild symptoms in acquired rubella is used until the disease has run its course.