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German Measles (Rubella)

German measles is usually a mild illness with a rash, often causing symptoms no more severe than those of a common cold. The virus has an incubation period of fourteen to twenty-one days. An infected child spreads the virus in droplets during from the time that the first symptoms appear until about three days after the rash has subsided.

Symptoms

The chief features are a rash and swollen lymph glands at the back of the head and in the neck. The rash appears within twenty-four hours of the onset of the infection and consists of small flat pink areas known as macules. Complications in German measles are rare, but encephalitis is not unknown.

Although rubella itself is a mild illness, infection of a pregnant woman may damage the fetus. About twenty per cent of babies born to infected mothers have some congenital abnormality such as deafness, a congenital heart the end of the fourth month of pregnancy infection does not cause congenital deformity, but the baby may be born with chronic rubella. Vaccination against German measles is recommended for all girls aged eleven to fourteen who have not had the disease and is offered through the school medical service. Vaccination should not be given during pregnancy.

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