Rubella is an acute viral eruptive disease. It is not always symptomatic and goes unnoticed in about half of the cases. Rubella is particularly serious for a fetus when transmission of the virus by the mother occurs during the early stages of pregnancy, a condition known as congenital rubella syndrome or CRS. (25)
The mean incubation period is 18 days. In its typical clinical form, the disease is characterized by a transient erythematous rash with moderate fever, conjunctivitis, coryza, and sub-occipital adenopathy (swelling of neck lymph nodes).
In the case of CRS, infants develop ophthalmic, auditory, cardiac, and craniofacial malformations, which are more severe when transmission occurs early during pregnancy. (25)
The rubella virus is transmitted from one person to another through respiratory droplets of infected subjects.
Because the reservoir of the virus is exclusively human, eradication is theoretically possible.
The rubella vaccine is often used in combination with measles and mumps vaccines (MMR vaccine).
Within the past few years, vaccination has dramatically reduced, or even eliminated, rubella and CRS in many developed and some developing countries.
25 - Rubella vacines: WHO position paper. WER 2000(20):161-72.