caused by a virus spread when people cough, sneeze, or
talk. It is usually a mild sickness with fever, swollen glands
and a rash which lasts for about three days. However, if a
pregnant woman contracts rubella, she can lose her unborn baby.
Unborn babies exposed to rubella can also have birth defects,
heart defects, or suffer blindness, deafness, mental
retardation, or other serious problems. The last big rubella
epidemic was in 1964, which led to 20,000 babies being born with
serious birth defects.
protect mothers and their babies from this disease in two ways.
One is to make sure that women are immune to rubella before they
become pregnant by immunizing them. Immunization protects them from
getting rubella while they are pregnant, which also protects
their unborn children. The second way to protect against rubella is to immunize all
children. This protects the children themselves, but it also
protects others. Children who can't catch rubella can't spread
it to their mothers or to other pregnant women.
vaccine is given in the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
series to children and adults or in the MMRV (measles, mups, rubella, varicella) vaccine to children 12 months to 12 years of age.