Rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Most people who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in an developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant. The best protection against rubella is MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine.
The best protection against rubella is the MMR (measles-mumps-and rubella) vaccine. Most people who get MMR vaccine will be protected against rubella.
Pregnant women who get rubella can have a miscarriage. Also, their babies can have birth defects, such as
- heart problems
- loss of hearing or eyesight
- intellectual disabilities
- liver or spleen damage
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Elimination of Rubella in the Americas Region and the United States
In 2015, the Pan American Health Organization of the World Health Organization announced that the Americas region is the world’s first region to eliminate rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). In the United States, rubella and CRS were verified as eliminated in 2004. That means the disease is no longer spread year-round in the Americas region or the United States.
However, rubella is still common in other parts of the world. People can get the disease in other countries and bring it home. That’s why it’s important for people to be up to date on their MMR vaccinations.
- Page last reviewed: April 29, 2011
- Page last updated: March 31, 2016
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