Rubella | Stiftung Warentest

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Ringworm usually occurs from late winter to early summer and is not a big problem. This year is different: numbers have increased significantly in many parts of Europe since November 2023.

Good to know: The infection is usually overcome quickly and lifelong immunity remains. But one group of people should be especially careful: pregnant women.

Why are pregnant women particularly at risk?

Especially at the beginning of pregnancy, viral infection can cause anemia in the fetus. In the worst case, this can lead to a miscarriage.

What kind of childhood illness is this?

Rubella can affect people of any age, not just in childhood. A typical rash, fatigue and light Flu-like symptoms are the most common signs of illness. The disease only has its name in common with rubella. The trigger is parvovirus B19.

Viruses are transmitted through droplet infections when coughing or sneezing and also through swab infections, for example, when a cough-stained hand contaminates a door handle. Avoiding infection is very difficult, but careful hand hygiene and avoiding physical contact with sick people help.

Tip: Please be assured, Hand sanitizer should not be kept within the reach of children.

What does the rash typically look like?

The rash is also called heat rash because large butterfly-shaped patches of redness spread across both cheeks. After one to two days, skin changes appear as red spots on the shoulders, arms, thighs, and buttocks. Over time, the rash changes and becomes – in keeping with the name – ring or garland shaped.

What is the risk of infection?

High. Rubella is transmitted before you can see the typical rash on your face, for example. This is why many children and their caregivers are often infected in kindergartens. There is currently no vaccination against rubella.

Tip: Reliable vaccines are available to protect against other “childhood diseases” such as measles, mumps and chickenpox. Our drug experts have several Vaccines for children and adults evaluated.

Reassuringly: more than half of all adults in Germany have had rubella and are immune to it – in the case of pregnant women, an estimated 60 to 70 out of every 100 are immune.

What to do if you have an infection?

If a pregnant woman has come into contact with rubella, she should seek advice and be examined at a gynecologist’s office. The first step is to check whether she is immune to rubella. As the disease often no longer presents symptoms, many people are unaware that they have experienced it.

If a pregnant woman is sick, ultrasound can be used to check whether the fetus is developing anemia, which can be dangerous, particularly in early pregnancy. Depending on the age of the fetus, it is possible to have a blood transfusion into the umbilical cord to avoid harm to health.

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