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German Measles


What is German measles?

German measles is a mild infectious illness caused by the rubella virus, which is why it is sometimes called rubella. There is no connection between German measles and measles, which is caused by a different virus.

What causes German measles?

German measles is caused by a virus, and is spread by fine droplets of moisture, which contain the virus. The droplets are produced when the infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks and another person then inhales these droplets and may become infected.

What are the symptoms of German measles?

Symptoms of German measles can include any of the following:

  • Slight fever sometimes accompanied by a runny nose.
  • Swollen glands behind the ears and around the neck.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Sore throat.
  • Rash that starts on the face and then spreads to the body. This rash usually lasts for about 3 days.

How contagious is German measles?

German measles is contagious and will require an incubation period of 14-21 days. German measles is most contagious before the rash appears and then for about 5 days afterwards.

What are the effects of German measles?

German measles usually causes no long term complications and once you have had German measles you will not get it again. However, the biggest danger is if a pregnant woman develops German measles, as there is a strong possibility that the child will be born with birth defects (e.g. blindness or heart defects).

What treatment is available for German measles?

Children with German measles will not require any medical treatment, as it gets better on its own. You can give your child paracetamol liquid to relieve symptoms of pain and fever, ask your pharmacist for advice. You should however phone and tell your doctor that your child has German measles, he/she will then decide if they need to see the child.

If you are pregnant and you get German measles you should visit your doctor immediately.

How can I prevent catching German measles?

If you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, you should consult your doctor to confirm that you are protected against German measles.

An injection for German measles is normally given to babies between 12-15 months, along with a vaccine for mumps and measles (known as M.M.R.). A booster is then given before the child starts school.