Rubella Viral Infection : How To Protect Your Child From This Disease
Tuesday, February 28,2017
Rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory tract. It causes characteristic redness that first appears on the face, then extending over the chest and the rest of the body.
The disease is usually mild in children, but it can have dangerous consequences when a pregnant woman transmits it to the fetus (congenital rubella). Once a person has been infected with the disease, it is permanently immunized.
Rubella can be prevented by a vaccine that is part of the infant immunization program in Canada and France. The combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has significantly reduced the incidence of this disease in countries where it has been included in the routine childhood immunization program.
Rubella is a contagious disease that spreads through tiny droplets produced by the nose and mouth. People infected with the virus are contagious about 1 or 2 weeks before the rash and at least 4 days after the onset of redness.
The incubation period (that is, the time between the time the virus is contracted and the onset of symptoms of the disease) can last from 12 to 23 days.
Rarely, rubella can cause:
A form of minor arthritis affecting the fingers, wrists and knees, which usually disappears on its own after about 1 month. More often it affects adolescents and adults and more women than men (up to 70% of infected adults).
An ear infection (otitis).
Encephalitis, affecting adults more often (1 case out of 6000).
Symptoms of rubella
The symptoms of rubella appear 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the virus. They usually last 2 or 3 days.
An eruption of small red or pink spots, mainly in the face, behind the ears and in the neck can cause itching. These spots gradually extend to the arms, chest and back to reach the legs and feet.
Painful joints (especially in infected adolescents and young women)
Up to 50% of people infected with rubella virus have no symptoms.
Not being vaccinated against rubella.
Traveling to a developing country where the disease is present without receiving the rubella vaccine.
When a pregnant woman contracts the rubella virus during the first 3 months of pregnancy, this can have serious consequences on the development of the fetus, and sometimes even lead to death.
Can we prevent it?
The vaccine is the best way to prevent a rubella infection. The MMR (measles, rubella and mumps MMR II) vaccine is administered to children in two doses, the first usually around 12 months and the second around 18 months. Both in France and in Canada, this vaccine is fully reimbursed by Medicare.
A vaccine is available for women of childbearing age who would not have received the vaccine during childhood. The vaccine can not be given to pregnant women.
Medical treatment of rubella
No treatment can cure rubella. It is recommended to take a lot of rest and promote quiet activities. A humidifier can help clear the airways.
Some medications can alleviate symptoms of the disease.
Analgesics. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®, Panadol®), ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) or naproxen (Aleve®) can treat fever. Warning. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid-ASA) should not be administered to children as there is a risk of causing Reye’s syndrome.
Antibiotics. If a bacterial infection, such as an ear infection develops following rubella, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Injection of immunoglobulins.
Pregnant women, children and people with weakened immune systems who are exposed to the virus can receive immunoglobulin injections.
When administered within the first 6 days after exposure to the virus, these antibodies can alleviate the symptoms of the disease. However, these antibodies do not eliminate the possibility of transmitting the disease to the fetus.
Tuesday, February 28,2017-11:01:06 AM[London]
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