German Measles – A Simple but possibly Fatal Disease

German Measles is medically known as Rubella. This infection is caused by the Rubella virus and it primarily affects the skin and lymph nodes. This disease is often mild and its reactions may resolve unnoticed. German measles is sometimes called the three day measles because the infection usually resolves within three days. Children recover more quickly than adults.

German Measles (Rubella) is sometimes confused with measles (Rubeola). These two diseases are different.

Rubella virus is mainly transmitted by droplets from nose and throat that an individual breathes in, but the virus can also be found on the skin, feces and urine.

It can also be transmitted by an infected mother to her unborn child via the bloodstream. If a pregnant woman acquires the infection within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, the child may be born with congenital rubella syndrome. This dangerous complication entails a lot of serious diseases such as congenital heart disease, cataracts, deafness, mental retardation and many others. This is the primary medical concern of German measles. About 20% of infected mothers experience spontaneous abortion because of German measles.

This three day measles is generally a common mild disease of children with minimal systemic upset. Transient arthropathy may occur in adults and infection usually resolves slower compared to children.

The first manifestation of German measles usually appears 14 to 21 days after exposure to the virus. Mild fever and swollen tender lymph nodes are usually the first symptoms of German measles. These symptoms last from 1 to 2 days followed by rashes that begin on the face and spread towards the rest of the body. Rashes are described as pink or light red spots that itch and last up to 3 days. Very fine flakes appear as rashes clear. Other symptoms common to adults are mild conjunctivitis, loss of appetite, runny nose, and joint pain.

There is no specific treatment for German measles. Management is yielded towards specific symptoms and discomforts caused by the disease.

Treatment of new born babies is focused on management of complications.

Heart defects and cataracts are treated with surgery.

Supportive therapies and devices are also used in order to alleviate complications such as hearing aids when deafness occurs.

Since German measles is usually mild in all other age groups, providing rest and comfort is usually recommended.

German measles can be prevented by rubella vaccine. General immunization against this condition is vital in controlling spread of disease to prevent birth defects and complication. The World Health Organization recommends the first dose to be given at 12 to 18 months with the second dose at 36 months. There are special cases and circumstances regarding the schedule of immunizations so one needs to visit the doctor to clarify it.

Rubella vaccine is not given to a pregnant women and to those women who want to conceive within a month of receiving the vaccine. A woman is advised to get the vaccine at least a month before she plans to get pregnant. Pregnant women who are not immunized should avoid contact with infected persons and should get the vaccine after the delivery.

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