Rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Most people who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant.
Most adults who get rubella usually have a mild illness:
- low-grade fever
- sore throat
- a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body
Some adults may also have:
- pink eye
- general discomfort before the rash appears
About 25% to 50% of people infected with rubella will not experience any symptoms.In rare cases, rubella can cause serious problems, including brain infections and bleeding problems.
The most serious complication from rubella infection is the harm it can cause a pregnant woman’s developing baby. If an unvaccinated pregnant woman gets infected with rubella virus she can have a miscarriage, or her baby can die just after birth. Also, she can pass the virus to her developing baby who can develop serious birth defects such as:
- heart problems,
- loss of hearing and eyesight,
- intellectual disability, and
- liver or spleen damage.
Serious birth defects are more common if a woman is infected early in her pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. These severe birth defects are known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).