Rubella is spread by coughing and sneezing. It may go undiagnosed because of its mild symptoms. Although it seldom poses a major risk to kids, rubella does put unborn infants at considerable risk. Pregnant women who get rubella can miscarry or have babies with severe birth defects such as blindness, deafness, or developmental delays. It causes a slight fever and a rash on the face and neck. The rash and a "flush" appear first on the face, then spread quickly to the trunk, upper arms, and thighs. The rash then moves to the forearms, hands, and feet. Teens and adults may have painful or swollen joints.

Symptoms of rubella are:

  • Swollen, tender glands at the back of the neck and behind the ears.
  • A mild fever.
  • A rash.

Scientific term

  • Rubella

Generic term

  • Rubella
  • German Measles

Age groups at risk

  • All

More about rubella

Vaccine Information

  • The rubella vaccine is a live, weakened virus. Although available on its own, it's recommended that, in most cases, people get rubella vaccine as part of the MMR Vaccine. It protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Rubella vaccination is particularly important for non-immune women who may get pregnant because of the risk for serious birth defects if they get the disease during pregnancy.

Vaccine information statements

Related information

Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention