by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(German Measles; 3-Day Measles)


Rubella is an upper respiratory infection most known for its red rash.

Rubella Rash
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It is caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person through tiny droplets in the air.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Never having rubella before
  • No history of a vaccination to prevent rubella


Many people do not have symptoms. They are usually mild in those who do, such as:

  • Red, spotty rash all over the body which starts on the face 14 to 18 days after being around the virus
  • Feeling tired
  • Swollen glands
  • Reddened face
  • Red throat that is not sore
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Achy joints and arthritis, common in adults and may last for a month or more

Lung problems and fatigue are first, followed by the rash.

A pregnant woman who has rubella in the first 3 months of her pregnancy may have a miscarriage or baby that is stillborn. Or they may be born with severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome .


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests will be done.


The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. This can be done with pain relievers.


To lower the risk of this problem:

  • Avoid being around anyone who has rubella
  • Get the measles and mumps vaccine (MMR)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Immunization Action Coalition 


About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children 

Public Health Agency of Canada 


Rubella. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed October 28, 2020.

Rubella. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. In: Pickering LK, ed. 29th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012:629-634.

Rubella (German measles). Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: Accessed October 28, 2020.

Rubella (German measles or three-day measles). New York State Department of Health website. Available at: Accessed October 28, 2020.

Rubella (German measles, three-day measles). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed October 28, 2020.

Woo EJ, Winiecki SK, et al. Adverse events after MMR or MMRV vaccine in infants under 9 months old. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2016 May 10.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2020
  • Update Date: 05/04/2021