Rubella & Birth Defects
Rubella or German measles is a condition that can be prevented with an
immunization. While it is typically a mild illness in children, it can
cause birth defects in the child of a woman who is infected while pregnant.
The rubella virus attacks the skin and lymph nodes. Symptoms may include
a fever and headache, along with the “hallmark” symptom of
this condition, a noticeable red rash.
After a rash develops on an infected person, he or she will be at their
most contagious between one week before and after this period. Additionally,
people who do not display rubella symptoms but are infected can still
spread rubella. Approximately half of people carrying the rubella virus
do not display symptoms. This is another reason why it is so important
for people to keep up to date on their immunizations. Doing so not only
protects you, it protects others as well. Ask your doctor at Washington
Township Medical Foundation about the MMR vaccine.
In cases of rubella, a pregnant woman who is exposed to the virus could
give birth to a child with serious birth defects or may experience other
- Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) which may include heart problems, vision
problems, spleen damage, liver damage, hearing problems, learning / mental
disabilities, growth issues, bone problems, and microcephaly
- Still birth
- Premature birth