Rubella is caused by the rubella virus, a member of the Rubivirus genus.
After an incubation period of two to three weeks and a prodrome consisting of fever, headache and malaise, an enanthem develops, consisting of dull red macules or petechiae on the soft palate, in the presence of posterior cervical and other lymph node enlargement, with an exanthem that appears first on the face and then spreads rapidly downward to the trunk and limbs. The pink macules of the exanthem can become confluent as a diffuse erythema. There is clearing of the eruption within a week.
There can be an associated arthritis.
Fetal damage can occur up to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Damage can vary from multiple congenital defects to deafness.
- There is no specific treatment.
- Active immunization using live attenuated rubella virus is recommended in most jurisdictions.