GERMAN MEASLES (RUBELLA)
German measles (also called rubella) has no connection with ordinary measles, and is a viral disease which is mild infectious. IT is spread by means of contaminated drops of saliva or catarrh, i.e., a droplet infection. It rarely affects children under five years. The incubation period is two to three weeks, and the child should be kept isolated for about four days after the rash has appeared.
Symptoms and treatment
The illness may begin with a slight temperature and a general unwell felling for a day or two. After this, the characteristic symptom is a generalized rash which starts on the forehead and behind the ears before gradually spreading over the trunk and limbs. The rash is not itchy or irritating and consists of flat, pinkish spots which may come together, giving a blotchy appearance. There may be some bodily discomfort and a very low – grade temperature, but usually the child feels perfectly well . The glands in the neck and at the back of the skull will frequently be enlarged. The symptoms usually go away in a few days but the rash may last for an even shorter period. If the child does feel slightly unwell, make him as comfortable as possible; otherwise no specific treatment is usually indicated.
The only real significance of rubella is that it can have disastrous consequences if a woman contracts it during the first four months of pregnancy when it can result in serious abnormalities in the baby. Thus, if the disease is suspected, strenuous efforts should be made to avoid contact with anyone in early pregnancy.
As an attach gives life – long immunity, efforts should be made to ensure that girls are exposed to the disease before reaching child-bearing age. The giving of ‘ German measles parties’ to achieve these ends is a practice to encourage. A vaccine providing protection against rubella is now available and this should be given to all girls aged from 11 to 13, irrespective of whether they think they have previously had the disease.