Rubella Outbreak

So now we have an outbreak of Rubella. This of course doesn’t surprise me at all with parents rushing off to vaccinate their children with the live virus MMR vaccine and then sending them straight back out into the community to mix with other people whilst still shedding the 3 live vaccine viruses, I have no doubt there will be plenty of mumps out there in the not too distant future (if not already) and this too will be classed as a “rare” illness when in fact it isn’t all that rare at all, just as I’m quite sure Rubella isn’t actually all that rare, it’s just such a mild illness many parents wouldn’t even know their children have it…

Signs and Symptoms

Rubella infection may begin with 1-2 days of mild fever (99-100° F/37.2-37.8° C) and swollen, tender lymph nodes, usually in the back of the neck or behind the ears. A rash then begins on the face and spreads downward. As it spreads, it usually clears on the face. This rash is often the first sign of illness that a parent notices.

The rubella rash can look like many other viral rashes. It appears as either pink or light red spots, which may merge to form evenly colored patches. The rash can itch and lasts up to 3 days. As the rash clears, the affected skin occasionally sheds in very fine flakes.

Of course  just like all other natural childhood illnesses, it is important that you get rubella as a child in order to develop lifelong immunity. This ensures that women do not develop it during the first tri-mester of pregnancy when it can be very dangerous for the developing foetus and it ensures the illness is very mild…

Other symptoms of rubella (these are more common in teens and adults) can include headache, loss of appetite, mild conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids and eyeballs), a stuffy or runny nose, swollen lymph nodes in other parts of the body, and pain and swelling in the joints (especially in young women). Many people with rubella have few or no symptoms.

Rubella in a pregnant woman can cause congenital rubella syndrome, with potentially devastating consequences for the developing fetus. Children who are infected with rubella before birth are at risk for growth retardation; mental retardation; malformations of the heart and eyes; deafness; and liver, spleen, and bone marrow problems.