Rubella is a mild illness for children but can be dangerous to an unborn child
Rubella is a highly infectious virus that commonly affects children. It is also known as German measles. Rubella infection usually results in a mild illness for most people. However, if pregnant women are infected, especially in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, it can cause birth defects. The virus damages the developing heart, brain, eyes and ears of the foetus. This condition is called congenital rubella syndrome. The best protection against rubella is vaccination.
Congenital Rubella Syndrome: Rubella becomes potentially serious when a woman is infected early in her pregnancy. This is because the virus can produce defects in the developing foetus.
If a mother contracts rubella in the first trimester of her pregnancy, there is a 25% chance of the baby being born with congenital rubella syndrome. Some of the defects include deafness, cataracts, microcephaly, mental retardation, and congenital heart defects. However, defects are rare if the infection occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.
If a woman is unvaccinated, she may experience:
If your child has a fever, treat it as you normally would, such as ensuring your child gets plenty of fluids and rest. Cool sponging will help relieve the discomfort from the rash. You can give your child medication such as paracetamol to reduce the pain and fever. However consult your doctor before giving any fever-reducing medicine for the first time. Rubella is a viral infection so antibiotics will not be prescribed because they do not work on viral illnesses.
Remember to keep your child at home while any rash is visible, as well as for a week after the rash subsides to prevent the spread of Rubella virus to others.
In Singapore, two doses of the MMR or MMRV vaccine are recommended for children. The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine) or the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccine) is given at 12 months and 15-18 months old.
At least three months before trying to become pregnant, a woman should have a blood test to see if the rubella antibodies are present; if not, she should be immunised or re-immunised with a measles vaccine
Rubella vaccines are safe and have been used for many years to protect children and pregnant women against infection. They are about 97% effective at preventing rubella infection.
Click here for more information on subsidies available, other vaccine-preventable diseases and frequently asked questions.
Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.
Read this next:
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
Helping Youth Fight Depression
Building Resilience In Your Child
3 Ways Your Child Benefits From Boredom
Play To Win
Healthy Food for Kids in a Bento
View More Programmes
Come explore 3 easy-to-remember ways to manage diabetes and lead a fulfilling life.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza and pneumococcal disease. There is no reason why anyone should suffer from the serious complications vaccine-preventable diseases can cause. Your best defence against such diseases is getting vaccinated.
Wouldn’t it be great if healthy living were as easy and enjoyable as shopping? Now, that’s possible at Health Promoting Malls. Have fun with mall workouts, enjoy healthier meals, and learn how to stay smoke-free – all at your convenience!
Browse Live Healthy
In partnership with