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Is Rubella Contagious?


Is Rubella contagious?

Rubella is contagious and is transmitted through direct contact or contact with respiratory secretions (nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing). Persons with rubella are most contagious when the rash first appears but can be contagious for seven days prior to or seven days after.1

Rubella is generally a mild, self-limiting illness and up to 50 percent of infected individuals will have no symptoms. Symptoms that can occur include a rash that begins on the face and spreads towards the feet, a low-grade fever, swollen glands, cough, headache, and swelling and redness to the white of the eyes.2 Complications of rubella include arthritis or arthralgia, usually seen in women who develop the illness, and rarely encephalitis and thrombocytopenia purpura.3

While rubella is usually not a serious infection, a woman infected with rubella during the first three months of pregnancy has a greater chance of miscarriage and of giving birth to a baby with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) and birth defects. Infants born with CRS can suffer from deafness, blindness, heart defects, developmental delay, small head size and other serious health problems.4 

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Rubella and the Rubella vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. <a rel=“nofollow” href=" https:="" www.cdc.gov="" rubella="">For Healthcare Professionals. In: Rubella (German Measles, Three-Day Measles). Dec. 31, 2020.

2 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs and Symptoms. In: Rubella (German Measles, Three-Day Measles). Dec. 31, 2020.

3  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Healthcare Professionals. In: Rubella (German Measles, Three-Day Measles). Dec. 31, 2020.

4 Lambert N, Strebel P, Orenstein W, et al. Rubella.  Lancet. Jan. 2015; 385(9984):2297–2307.

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