Q: What are the symptoms of rubella?

A: On the second or third day, a rash appears that begins at the hairline and spreads downward over the rest of the body. As the rash spreads downward, it usually clears on the face. The rubella rash appears as either pink or light-red spots, about 0.1 inches (2-3 mm) in diameter, which may merge to form evenly colored patches. The rash doesn't itch, and lasts up to 5 days (the average is 3 days). As the rash passes, the affected skin may be shed in flakes. Rubella has the folowing symptoms:

  • Rash
  • Mild conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids and eyeballs);
  • Stuffy or runny nose;
  • Swollen lymph glands in other regions of the body;
  • Pain and swelling in the joints (especially in young women);
  • In males, pain in the testicles.

When rubella occurs in a pregnant woman, it may cause congenital rubella syndrome with serious malformations of her developing fetus. Children infected with rubella before birth (a condition known as congenital rubella) are at risk for the following: growth retardation; malformations of the heart, eyes, or brain; deafness; and liver, spleen, and bone marrow problems.

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