2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Rubella is a fairly mild disease when it affects children. By far the most serious problem is the risk of transmitting the virus to a pregnant woman and therefore to the baby she is carrying.
Rubella is caused by a virus. It spreads the same way as a cold, so through secretions from the nose and mouth, urine or stool.
Incubation and contagion
Rubella is not as contagious as the common cold or measles, but the virus is more resistant and remains on contaminated objects for a long time. People infected with the virus are contagious for a full week before symptoms appear and up to two weeks after.
Half of those infected show no symptoms at all. Some people have swollen glands behind the ear, general pain and fatigue. A fever of less than 39°C, a runny nose, headache and red eyes are also possible. These symptoms, which are more common in children than adults, last from one to five days before the rash appears.
The rash does not appear until two to three weeks laterthe infection. Oddly, it has been noticed that most people develop their rash on the 17th or 18th day after exposure. The rash consists of small red or pink spots all over the body that are itchy. It lasts an average of three days.
Rubella has been a reportable disease in Canada since 1924.
Apart from the risks to the fetus which will be discussed later, the most common complication associated with rubella is a form of arthritis that affects adults and goes away on its own. In children, one in 3,000 may develop serious bleeding complications. In adults, one in 5,000 may develop encephalitis (brain infection).
As with measles and most viral illnesses, there is no cure for rubella. You just have to wait for it to pass. Painkillers can relieve fever and rheumatic pain.
After having rubella, a person is immune for life. The vaccine against this virus was developed in 1969. Since then, it is recommended that a dose of the vaccine be given to all one-year-old children, at the same time as the vaccines against measles and mumps, MMR. A second dose is given at 18 months of age. Today, 96% of Canadian children under the age of two are vaccinated. The duration of protection is not yet known, but some studies indicate that immunitywould be more than 20 years. As it is a disease that has few consequences in children, vaccination is mainly used to prevent rubella infection during pregnancy, so children are vaccinated so that they do not contaminate women of childbearing age.
For couples who want to start a family, both partners should get vaccinated if they haven't already. The risk of serious birth defects or miscarriage is high if a woman contracts rubella in the first three months of pregnancy. After three months, the risk begins to decrease and the baby is almost completely at risk if the mother had rubella after her 20th week of pregnancy. Problems seen in children born to infected mothers include birth defects such as congenital heart disease, cataracts, deafness, mental retardation, or even fetal death. The infected infant may appear normal at birth since the malformations only become apparent after several years. It is also possible that he has diabetes.
An estimated 15% of women of childbearing age are vulnerable to rubella
In 2005, the incidence of rubella was approximately 1 per 100,000 population in Canada. From 2006 to 2011, an average of fewer than five cases were reported per year. (He alth Canada)
The last rubella epidemic occurred in 1964 and affected more than 12 million people in the United States.