First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, testing, and additional resources
Home > Health Library > Rubella
Rubella, also called German measles, is a contagious infection caused by a virus. It usually causes a mild illness with a fine, red rash over most of the body, swollen glands, and low fever.
Rubella is not common in the United States because most children are vaccinated (immunized) against it. Most people who get rubella are young adults who have not been vaccinated. A person can develop immunity to rubella by having the disease or being vaccinated.
Rubella is a mild illness in adults. But if a person gets rubella during pregnancy, the baby is at risk for birth defects, such as heart defects, deafness, and cataracts. The illness can also result in miscarriage or stillbirth. The earlier the infection occurs in a pregnancy, the greater the risk that the baby will have severe defects. People who are not immune to rubella should be vaccinated before becoming pregnant.
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Christine Hahn MD - Epidemiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.