1. Rubella is a virus.
Rubella, which many people refer to as German measles, is not caused by the measles virus. The rubella virus is part of the Togavirus family.
2. Rubella is contagious.
While rubella is not as contagious as measles, it is spread much the same way — through contact with an infected person, coughing and sneezing.
3. Rubella can have serious complications.
Those most vulnerable to rubella are pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Pregnant women who are infected with rubella during their first trimester have a high risk of giving birth to a baby with Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). An estimated 110,000 babies are born with CRS each year, and up to 85 percent of infected babies have birth defects like blindness, deafness and mental retardation.
4. Rubella can be prevented.
Rubella can be prevented with a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine. This can be delivered as a rubella vaccine alone, or combined with the measles vaccine (MR) or with measles and mumps vaccines (MMR).
Sources: The Measles & Rubella Initiative and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention