Rubella

Rubella is a contagious viral infection . It is also known as German Measles. It is a mild condition that gets better without treatment in 7 to 10 days. Rubella is not the same as measles (rubeola), though the two illnesses do share some characteristics, including the red rash. However, rubella is caused by a different virus than measles, and is neither as infectious nor usually as severe as measles.  Rubella infection among women, especially during early 3 months of pregnancy, has a 90% chance to pass the virus to fetus resulting in miscarriage, fetal death, or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

Since the Bangladesh  Government initiated a surveillance for congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in November 2012, thirty-three clinically confirmed CRS cases, including six laboratory confirmed cases, were reported until 08 September 2013. Surveillance data revealed rubella incidences per million populations were 87 in 2010, 38 in 2011 and 21 in 2012.

For this the Government of Bangladesh has decided to conduct a nationwide campaign against measles and rubella (MR) targeting 52 millions of children from 9 months to under 15 years of age. Each of the children will be vaccinated with one dose of MR vaccine irrespective of their previous vaccination status. The mass vaccination is expected to have an impact to eliminate measles and control rubella by 2016.

 

How does it spread

Rubella is caused by a type of virus called a togavirus. It’s spread in a similar way to a cold or flu, through droplets of moisture from the nose or throat of someone who’s infected. These droplets are released into the air when someone coughs, sneezes or talks.

If anyone have rubella he will be infectious to other people from one week before symptoms develop, and for up to four days after the rash first appeared. When you are infected it can take two to three weeks symptoms to develop.

 

Symptoms of Rubella

 

The signs and symptoms of rubella are often so mild they’re difficult to notice, especially in children. If signs and symptoms do occur, they generally appear between two and three weeks after exposure to the virus. They typically last about two to three days and may include:

  • Mild fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or lower
  • Headache
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Inflamed, red eyes
  • Enlarged, tender lymph nodes at the base of the skull, the back of the neck and behind the ears
  • A fine, pink rash that begins on the face and quickly spreads to the trunk and then the arms and legs, before disappearing in the same sequence
  • Aching joints, especially in young women

Rubella usually only becomes a serious concern if a pregnant woman catches the infection during the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy. The birth defects caused by the rubella virus are known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

 

The rubella virus can disrupt the development of the baby and cause a wide range of health problems, including:

  • eye problems – such as cataracts(cloudy patches on the lens of the eye)
  • Deafness
  • Heart abnormalities
  • Brain damage

The birth defects caused by the rubella virus are known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).

 

Treatment and lifestyle modifications

The rubella rash can look like many other viral rashes. So it is usually confirmed with the help of laboratory tests.

There is no specific treatment for rubella and symptoms are so mild  that it normally pass within 7 to 10 days. Simple self care measures are required for this-

  • Rest in bed as necessary.
  • Take paracetamol to relieve discomfort from fever and aches.
  • If there is any child, pregnant lady, people with deficient or suppressed immune system in home , they need to be separated to avoid infection.

 

Prevention

The best way to prevent rubella is to be immunized with the MMR vaccine. Children are offered this vaccine as a part of the EPI schedule ( Expanded Program on Immunization Programme) under Government of Bangladesh. First dose is given after completion of 9 months and second dose is given at 15 months.  It’s particularly important that girls receive the vaccine to prevent rubella during future pregnancies.

Routine vaccination is important because it reduces the risk of large outbreaks and helps protect pregnant women and their babies.

The MMR vaccine can also be given to older children and adults who haven’t been fully immunised before.

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