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Learn about rubella, its symptoms, and how it spreads.

About rubella

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:

  • a fever
  • a sore throat
  • swollen neck glands
  • a rash with red, raised bumps
  • painful, swollen joints
  • encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • a bleeding disorder

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.

How it spreads

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.

Current as of: June 30, 2023
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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