Also known as german measles, a rubella It is a viral disease or infectious disease very common in childhood, but it can also occur in adults who are not vaccinated or who did not have the disease as children.

Typically, infections with these viruses produce permanent immunity, meaning they occur only once in a lifetime.

Airborne, rubella is caused by an RNA virus called Togavirus. Rubella epidemics usually occur in cycles of 6 to 10 years, in the winter and spring period, affecting mainly school-aged children up to 9 years and adolescents after vaccination.


Red spots that appear on the face and behind the ear and then spread all over the body. After infection, it takes an average of 18 days to have the first symptom (incubation period). The symptoms are similar to those of the flu: headache and testicles; pain on swallowing; joint and muscle pain, dry skin, sneezing nasal congestion, enlarged lymph glands, low fever (up to 38 ° C), neck, reddish patches that start on the face and develop rapidly throughout the body (usually disappear within 5 days ), redness or inflammation in the eyes (not hazardous).

The infection is usually benign and in half of the cases does not produce any clinical manifestation. However, it becomes dangerous when infection occurs during pregnancy (ie congenital rubella transmitted from mother to fetus) because the virus invades the placenta and infects the embryo, commonly in the first three.

months of pregnancy, in this case, rubella can cause miscarriage, fetal death, premature birth and congenital malformations such as: visual problems (cataract and glaucoma), deafness, congenital heart disease, mentally retarded microcephaly, among others. From the 5th month of pregnancy, the risk of fetal injury is practically nil.


Contagion occurs through the airways, through direct contact with nasal secretions or through the air, through the aspiration of saliva droplets or nasal discharge.

The virus first multiplies in the pharynx and lymphatic organs. It then spreads through the blood and then manifests on the skin through the reddish spots. The incubation period is two to three weeks, so symptoms take time to be noticed.


Because of its similarity to other viruses (common influenza, measles, dengue, etc.), accurate diagnosis of rubella can only be obtained by serological examination.


It is made with antipyretics and pain relievers that help reduce discomfort, relieve headaches and body and lower fever. It is recommended to the patient to rest during the critical period of the disease.


To decrease rubella virus circulation, vaccination is very important, recommended at 15 months of age (MMR vaccine) and for all adults who have not yet had the disease (blocking vaccination). It is important to know that the child who is born with rubella can transmit the virus for up to one year. Therefore, they should be removed from other children and pregnant women who have not yet had the disease.

Rubella vaccine, effective in almost 100% of cases, should be given to children at 15 months of age. The vaccine is composed of live attenuated viruses and can be produced in monovalent form, associated with measles (double viral) or with measles and mumps (triple viral). The disease is not serious and male children do not need a vaccine, but often this is to prevent epidemics or to avoid the risk of infecting their unvaccinated pregnant partner after adulthood.


Pregnant women cannot be vaccinated and vaccinated women should avoid pregnancy for one month after the date of vaccination. Thus, women who did not have the disease as children should be vaccinated before becoming pregnant. Patients with malignant disease, immune deficiency, using immunosuppressants, corticosteroids and chemotherapy cannot be vaccinated.

Although it is believed that effective control of this viral disease is possible, and even eradicated by large-scale vaccination, this disease, as well as other viruses, still represents a major public health problem in many parts of the world, especially in areas where poor livelihood conditions and inadequate vaccination coverage are combined.