Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_3070


German measles; Three-day measles


Rubella is a common communicable disease of childhood, which is spread by oral droplets; humans are the only natural hosts. The incubation period lasts 14–21 days, and it has to be assumed that it remains contagious for seven days before and seven days after the appearance of the rash. Rubella's exanthem is maculopapulous. It starts in the face and spreads quickly. Furthermore, there is a lymphadenopathy, which is typically located behind the ears (retrooauricular), in the neck (posterior cervical) and at the back of the head (postoccipital). In most cases there is only a mild elevation of body temperature. In up to 50% the course of the infection is asymptomatic. An arthritis can appear, further complications (encephalitis, thrombocytopenic purpura) are rare. An infection during pregnancy has to be feared as the transmission of the virus to the unborn child can cause severe congenital anomalies, the  congenital rubella syndrome....

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© Springer-Verlag 2008