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Rubella is a mild childhood disease, also known as German measles.
Rubella vaccination is currently not part of the national routine immunisation schedule. The reasons are:
  1. Natural infections in childhood render 85-90% of women of childbearing age protected against the disease
  2. No research on rubella or congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) has been done in South Africa. Therefore rubella vaccination cannot be included in the schedule without scientific foundation.

What is rubella?

Rubella is a mild viral illness caused by the rubella virus. It is an infectious disease and dangerous because of its ability to harm unborn babies.

What are the signs and symptoms of rubella?

How do people get rubella?

How is rubella diagnosed?

What is the treatment for rubella?

How can rubella be prevented?

What complications can result from rubella?

When a woman gets rubella during pregnancy, especially during the first 3 months, the infection is likely to spread to the unborn baby and cause congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). CRS can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and severe birth defects.
The most common birth defects are:

Community participation

  • Any child who is suspected to be suffering from rubella should be taken to the nearest health facility immediately for examination and investigation
  • Children suffering from rubella should not attend school, day care or crèche (should be kept away from other children) until they no longer have rubella rash
  • Women in their first three months of pregnancy should not be exposed to rubella
  • Women known to be pregnant or attempting to become pregnant should not receive rubella vaccine.

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