Rubella is a type of contagious disease that usually occurs in childhood. Rubella, which manifests itself with symptoms such as skin rash, red spots, and fever, is caused by the infection of the virus called rubella. Rubella, which is usually mild in children and causes symptoms such as skin rashes as well as cold-like sore throat and runny nose, is more serious when seen in adulthood. When it is seen during pregnancy, especially in the early weeks, it can lead to a syndrome called congenital rubella. This disease, which is highly contagious, can be spread very easily by children. Therefore, when the lesions caused by measles on the skin in children or adults are noticed, health institutions should be consulted and examined.
Rubella is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. It’s also called German measles or three-day measles
What is rubella?
Rubella or German measles is a type of disease caused by viruses. The contagiousness of rubella transmitted by droplets is quite high. A person infected with the virus is contagious for a week before the skin rash begins and for a week or two after the rash disappears. Droplets that the sick person scatters during coughing and sneezing contain viruses and cause illness when they settle in the respiratory tract of a healthy individual.
Although some people with the disease can get through the process without showing any symptoms, they can infect healthy people. Thanks to the antibodies formed in the body of the person who has the disease once, protection is usually obtained for a lifetime. In addition, protection can be provided by vaccination. Especially if the disease is caught during pregnancy, it may cause serious symptoms, miscarriage, and permanent damage to the baby. Therefore, all individuals should have a rubella vaccine at the recommended time for health.
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What are the symptoms of rubella?
German measles is a disease that usually occurs in childhood and usually does not cause serious complications in children. In some children, the disease can be overcome even without any symptoms. The main symptom of measles infection is a pink or red-spotted rash. This type of skin lesions usually first start in and around the face and then spread to other parts of the body. The rashes last for an average of 3 days. For this reason, rubella disease is also known as a three-day measles disease in some regions. Common symptoms of rubella in adults and children include:
- Light fever
- Swelling and redness of the eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Runny nose
- Muscle pain
- Swelling of lymph nodes behind the ear and in the neck
Babies in the womb are in the group with rubella disease most dangerous. When a pregnant woman contracts rubella during her pregnancy, the disease is also passed on to the baby. The infected baby develops a condition called congenital rubella syndrome. This can lead to complications in the baby such as heart defects, deafness, cataracts, mental retardation, liver and spleen damage, thyroid problems, and diabetes. Pregnancies with congenital rubella syndrome may result in miscarriage or infant death may occur after birth. In order to prevent this situation, all individuals who plan pregnancy should have a rubella vaccine.
What are the causes of rubella?
Rubella virus is the causative agent of German measles. This virus, which is transmitted by close contact or respiratory tract, can be transmitted from person to person through contact with small drops of liquid emitted from the nose and throat during sneezing and coughing. The virus can be taken into the body by breathing in the air containing droplets emitted by an infected individual or touching an object contaminated with droplets.
Babies in the womb can also be infected through the bloodstream as a result of their mothers getting the virus in this way. Most cases of rubella are observed in countries that do not routinely vaccinate against the rubella virus. Apart from this, there is a possibility that children who have not yet received a rubella vaccine can get the disease. The riskiest period for congenital rubella syndrome seen in the mother’s womb during pregnancy is the first trimester of pregnancy.
The most effective way to prevent disease is to be vaccinated. First of all, vaccination should be administered to women who plan pregnancy, who have not been vaccinated against german measles before, and who have not had german measles disease. It should be protected from pregnancy until at least 4 weeks after the vaccination.
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How is German measles diagnosed?
The most common reason for referring to healthcare facilities for german measles is a red rash on the skin. Since this type of skin rash can also be seen in different types of illnesses, a blood test is ordered by the doctor after a medical history and physical examination. With this blood test, some other diseases that cause rubella or similar symptoms are investigated. Antibodies against the german measles virus in the blood are investigated in the tests. Antibodies; are proteins produced by the immune system that recognize and destroy harmful substances such as viruses and bacteria.
In the case of rubella infection, the disease can be diagnosed with a blood test. After that, factors such as the patient’s age, pregnancy status, and complications are evaluated and a treatment plan is created. Rubella disease can be transmitted very quickly. For this reason, the families and immediate surroundings of individuals found to be infected should also be screened for the disease. Especially if there is a pregnant individual who has not had rubella disease and has not been vaccinated around the sick person, this person should immediately apply to a health institution.
How is German measles treatment done?
Since rubella is a viral disease, it does not respond to antibiotic treatments. Most of the time, especially in children, the disease is mild and no medical treatment is needed. Rest is generally recommended for patients. This situation both speeds up the recovery and prevents the sick person from infecting other people by staying isolated. In some cases, high fever can be seen in rubella patients. In such cases, antipyretic drugs may be prescribed by physicians.
In addition, pain relievers such as headache and muscle aches can be alleviated with pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If rubella infection occurs in pregnant women, it can be treated with antibodies that fight the virus called hyperimmune globulin. Individuals who are pregnant and think they have German measles disease should apply to health institutions as soon as possible. While rubella disease was very common in the 1960s, the rubella vaccine has been included in the routine vaccination program in many countries since the 2000s, thus the incidence of the disease has been significantly reduced. In order to be protected from the disease, all individuals should have the rubella vaccine, and parents should take care to have their children vaccinated in a timely manner.
In childhood, the German measles vaccine is administered in two doses. The first of these is done between the ages of 12-15 months and the second between the ages of 4-6. Babies traveling to a country where rubella is common should be vaccinated at least six months before this trip. If possible, women of childbearing age should be vaccinated against German measles before marriage, and if married women have not been vaccinated before, it should be ensured that the rubella vaccine is administered at least one month before becoming pregnant. In people who are not sure whether they have had the disease or have had the vaccine, it can be learned whether there is protection against german measles as a result of a simple blood test in health institutions.
If you think you or your child have rubella, or if you have observed symptoms of rubella infection, you should immediately go to a healthcare facility and undergo an examination. After the examination and screening tests, after getting a diagnosis of rubella, you can regain your health in a short time by receiving treatment.
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