Rubella virus


Rubella is an acute viral eruptive disease. It is not always symptomatic and goes unnoticed in about half of the cases. Rubella is particularly serious for a fetus when transmission of the virus by the mother occurs during the early stages of pregnancy, a condition known as congenital rubella syndrome or CRS. (25)

Symptoms fo rubella

  • The mean incubation period is 14 days. In its typical clinical form, the disease is characterized by a transient erythematous rash with moderate fever, conjunctivitis, coryza, and sub-occipital adenopathy (swelling of neck lymph nodes).
  • In the case of CRS, infants develop ophthalmic, auditory, cardiac, and craniofacial malformations, which are more severe when transmission occurs early during pregnancy. (25)

Epidemiology and vaccination against rubella

  • The rubella virus is transmitted from one person to another through respiratory droplets of infected subjects.
  • Because the reservoir of the virus is exclusively human, eradication is theoretically possible.
  • The rubella vaccine is often used in combination with measles and mumps vaccines (MMR vaccine).
  • Within the past few years, vaccination has dramatically reduced, or even eliminated, rubella and CRS in many developed and some developing countries.


25 - Rubella vacines: WHO position paper. WER 2000(20):161-72.