Alberta Health Services
Rubella is sometimes called German measles. But it is different than measles. Rubella is a virus that spreads by coughing or sneezing. It is usually mild. It can cause:
If you get rubella while you’re pregnant, it can cause loss of a baby during pregnancy (miscarriage or stillbirth) or the baby may be born with disabilities.
Learn more about rubella.
Rubella spreads easily when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with someone who is infected can also spread rubella. A person with rubella may spread the disease before they have symptoms.
If you have rubella, stay away from other people, especially those who are pregnant.
Some people may not have any symptoms. For others, symptoms can include:
If you have a rash, it starts on the face and then moves down from head to foot. The rash lasts about 3 days.
In rare cases, rubella can cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain) or bleeding disorder.
There are things you can do to relieve your symptoms at home.
The vaccine given most often to children to protect against rubella is called the MMR-Var vaccine. This vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox (varicella).
The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.
If you are planning a pregnancy or could become pregnant, check with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re protected against rubella. The rubella vaccine is not given during pregnancy, so you should talk to your healthcare provider about whether you’re protected before you start trying to become pregnant.
Visit Ready or Not Alberta to learn more about immunization when planning a pregnancy.