Contact your healthcare provider or local health department if you are at risk for coronavirus (COVID-19). To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, please avoid the emergency department except in the event of an emergency. | Learn More
View All Services
Find a New Primary Care Provider
Search by Specialty
View All Locations
Discover classes, events, tours, and groups that fit your interests.
Home > Be Healthy > Health Library > Rubella
Rubella, also called German measles, is a contagious infection caused by a virus. It usually causes a mild illness with a fine, red rash over most of the body, swollen glands, and low fever.
Rubella is not common in the United States because most children are vaccinated (immunized) against it. Most people who get rubella are young adults who have not been vaccinated. A person can develop immunity to rubella by having the disease or being vaccinated.
Rubella is a mild illness in adults. But if a woman gets rubella during pregnancy, her baby is at risk for birth defects, such as heart defects, deafness, and cataracts. The illness can also result in miscarriage or stillbirth. The earlier the infection occurs in a woman's pregnancy, the greater the risk that her baby will have severe defects. Women who are not immune to rubella should be vaccinated before becoming pregnant.
Current as of: August 21, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christine Hahn, MD - Infectious Disease, Epidemiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.