MEASLES, GERMAN (Rubella)
MEASLES, GERMAN (Rubella)
DESCRIPTIONGerman measles is usually a mild, contagious virus illness. However, German measles is likely to cause serious birth defects to the unborn baby of a pregnant woman who develops the disease in the first 3 or 4 months of pregnancy. The skin and the lymph glands behind the ears and in the neck are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSFever.
Muscle aches and stiffness, especially in your child's neck.
Reddish rash on the child's head and body after the 2nd or 3rd day. The rash lasts 1 or 2 days.
Swollen lymph glands, especially behind the child's ears and at the back and sides of the neck.
Joint pain (adolescents and adults).
RNA virus spread by person-to-person contact. Patients are contagious from 1 week before the rash appears until 1 week after it fades.
Springtime weather when epidemics are common.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your child should be immunized against German measles at approximately 15 months of age.
Non-pregnant females of childbearing age should be immunized if they have not had German measles or been immunized. Pregnancy should be prevented for 3 months following immunization. (If you don't know whether or not you have had German measles, your doctor or local health department can determine it from a blood test.)
A child should not be immunized if the child has an altered autoimmune system (as with cancer) or if the child currently takes cortisone or anti-cancer drugs or is receiving radiation therapy or has an illness with fever.
Delay vaccinating a child whose mother is pregnant. The virus could pass to the mother and expose her.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a doctor; laboratory blood studies.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSMiscarriage or catastrophic birth defects; encephalitis; thrombocytopenia; agranulocytosis.
Spontaneous recovery in 1 week in children (longer in adults). Symptoms are usually quite mild.
HOME CAREContact any pregnant woman who has been exposed. Exposure includes contact with the infected child (or adult) 1 week prior to, during, or 1 week after the infection. This woman should consult her obstetrician immediately.
For minor discomfort, use non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen. Don't give aspirin to a child younger than 16. Some research shows a link between the use of aspirin in children during a virus illness and the development of Reye's syndrome (a type of encephalitis).
Your child should stay in bed until the fever disappears, then limit activities until the day after the rash disappears. The child can resume normal activity gradually as strength allows. Don't expose your child to others until 1 week after the rash disappears.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Not until signs infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of German measles.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Fever of 103F (39.4C) or higher.
-- Red eyes.
-- Cough or shortness of breath.
-- Severe headache, drowsiness, lethargy or convulsion.
Unusual bleeding occurs 1 to 4 weeks after the illness (bleeding gums, nose or uterus, or scattered blood specks on the skin).