Rubella (German Measles)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

almostadoctor app banner for android and iOS almostadoctor iPhone, iPad and android apps almostadoctor iOS app almostadoctor android app


  • Most common in winter/spring
  • Generally not very severe in children
  • Can causes severe fetal development problems if contracted by a pregnant woman. Spontaneous abortion occurs in 20% of cases
  • Caused by the Rubella Virusand Spread by the respiratory route. Patients are most infective during the prodromal period (i.e. before they know they are infected!)Parents are advised to keep their children off school for 5 days after the onset of the rash.

Clinical features

The incubation period is usually between 15-20 days. During this period there may be a generalised low grade-fever, or no signs at all. The symptomatic disease period is typically short, perhaps only 3 days.
Maculopapular rash – often the first symptoms. Starts on the face, and spreads down over the whole body. Lasts 3-5 days.
  • In children, the rash does not itch
  • In adults, the rash is very itchy


  • Particularly in the posterior auricular and subocipital nodes.


Generally rare, but can include:


Rubella is not a particularly dangerous or significant infection. If there is risk of exposure to a non-immune pregnant woman, then the diagnosis may be confirmed by serology.


Once again, there is no specific treatment. Just supportive.


Read more about our sources

Related Articles

Dr Tom Leach

Dr Tom Leach MBChB DCH EMCert(ACEM) FRACGP currently works as a GP and an Emergency Department CMO in Australia. He is also a Clinical Associate Lecturer at the Australian National University, and is studying for a Masters of Sports Medicine at the University of Queensland. After graduating from his medical degree at the University of Manchester in 2011, Tom completed his Foundation Training at Bolton Royal Hospital, before moving to Australia in 2013. He started almostadoctor whilst a third year medical student in 2009. Read full bio

Leave a Reply