Pediatric Rubella (German measles)

Rubella (German Measles) is a viral illness that causes a mild fever and a skin rash. Babies who contract rubella in the womb during pregnancy may have severe birth defects.

What is Pediatric Rubella (German measles)?

Rubella, also called German measles, is a viral illness that causes a mild fever and a skin rash. Most children in the United States are vaccinated against rubella, therefore, it is rare. However, if a pregnant woman has rubella, the infection can travel through her bloodstream to the fetus.

Rubella can damage the developing fetus’ organs, and in many cases, it leads to miscarriage. Babies with congenital (present at birth) rubella typically have severe birth defects.

Risk factors

Most adults and children in the United States have already been vaccinated against rubella. Your child is more at risk if they are not vaccinated and are around a person who has rubella.

A fetus is at risk for congenital rubella when the mother contracts the rubella virus. If you’re planning to become pregnant, it’s important to make sure that you are up-to-date on your MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine before you become pregnant.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Rubella (German measles)?

If your baby or child has rubella, they may experience symptoms that include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Rash (typically occurs several days after initial symptoms)
  • Runny nose
  • Sore joints

A baby who has congenital (present at birth) rubella may have some or all of these symptoms:

What are the causes of Pediatric Rubella (German measles)?

Rubella is caused by a virus that is spread through bodily fluids. When spread from person-to-person, it can be spread from fluid coming from the nose and throat. In a pregnant woman, rubella is spread through the bloodstream to the fetus.


Rubella can be prevented with the MMR vaccine.