German measles

Fact Checked

German measles or rubella is already a rare disease in developed countries. With the introduction of the vaccine, the cases of this disease drastically reduced. On the other hand, German measles still exists in other parts of the globe. This disease is not considered life-threatening, but pregnant women and fetuses can end up with adverse complications.

Causes of German measles

German measles is causes by a transmittable virus. An individual is contagious starting on the onset of rashes up to two weeks after the rash clears away. The virus can be spread by inhaling or touching secretions from an infected individual. In addition, the virus can be passed via the bloodstream from pregnant women to the fetus.

Risk factors

With the help of the vaccines that provide lifelong immunity, German measles is considered rare. Most cases typically occur among immigrants born in countries where the disease is prevalent. Those who travel abroad can acquire the virus and bring it home with them.

The rubella vaccine is administered to children 12-15 months old, thus infants and toddlers who have not received the vaccine face a high risk for acquiring German measles. Since the disease can cause harm to the fetus, many women who become pregnant have to undergo a blood test to confirm immunity to the disease.

German measles
The rubella vaccine is administered to children 12-15 months old, thus infants and toddlers who have not received the vaccine face a high risk for acquiring German measles.

What are the symptoms?

It is important to note that the symptoms typically last 3-7 days and includes the following:

  • Runny or stuffed nose
  • Mild fever usually below 102 degrees F
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Red or inflamed eyes
  • Pink-colored rash on the face and spreads downward

Even though these symptoms might not seem serious, a doctor should be consulted if an individual is suspected with German measles. Remember that this condition is considered as a public threat and cases must be monitored. If you want to properly manage the symptoms, click here.

The possible complications include brain swelling and ear infections. It is best to seek medical care if the individual has earache, prolonged headache or stiff neck during or after being infected with German measles.

Diagnosing and treatment of German measles

Since this disease is similar to other conditions that causes rash, the doctor will confirm the condition with a blood test. The test will detect antibodies in the blood which are present in immune and infected individuals. The level of antibodies is used to determine if the individual has the condition.

In most cases of German measles, they are treated at home. The doctor will recommend isolation from others to prevent the spread of the condition. As for pregnant women, they are treated with antibodies to fight off the infection.


Vaccination is considered as an effective and safest way to prevent German measles. At the present, the vaccine is usually combined with vaccines for mumps and measles as well as varicella.

The vaccine is given to children between 12-15 months old. A booster shot is required between 4-6 years of age. Take note that the vaccines contain minimal amounts of the virus, thus expect mild fever and rashes.

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