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Published On: Sun, May 19th, 2013

While Wales continues to battle a measles epidemic, concerns of rubella are starting to surface

As the measles outbreak in Wales closes in on 1,300 cases countrywide, a new concern has arisen in the small Welsh country–German measles.

Rubella is a respiratory viral infection characterized by mild respiratory symptoms and low-grade fever, followed by a maculopapular rash lasting about 3 days. Credits:   CDC

Rubella is a respiratory viral infection characterized by mild respiratory symptoms and low-grade fever, followed by a maculopapular rash lasting about 3 days.
Credits: CDC

Health authorities at Public Health Wales and the national deaf-blind charity Sense warned of the potential dangers of a rubella outbreak in Wales on Friday.

Despite the positive news of efforts to increase MMR vaccination in children and teenagers, Sense is warning that further action is needed now to prevent an outbreak of rubella which is also known as German measles.

Joff McGill, Lead on Rubella and Immunization at Sense, said: “We can’t sit around and wait for rubella outbreaks to follow measles – now is the time to catch up and stay ahead of rubella. We must act now to protect pregnant women and their unborn babies. Women who are unsure of their vaccination history and are thinking about becoming pregnant should contact their GP for advice.

“The large group of 38,000 unvaccinated young people in Wales, along with evidence of increasing susceptibility to rubella in younger woman and in women from ethnic minorities, means immunization can no longer be a childhood issue. Anyone that has not been vaccinated has the potential to pass rubella on to pregnant women.

“The single measles vaccination does not protect against rubella and a programme of single vaccines would mean more people unprotected for longer. MMR is the only effective way to prevent the spread of the disease and the associated risks.”

Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, Dr Marion Lyons added, “At present we have not seen cases of rubella in Wales for several years, but the disease is not eradicated and there is every possibility of rubella outbreaks in the future.

“It would be a huge shame to see this disease re-emerging in Wales and affecting pregnant women and their babies.”

Rubella or German measles is a mild, febrile viral disease characterized by a rash and fever. The rash is clinically indistinguishable from those produced by measles, parvovirus B19 and scarlet fever. This highly communicable disease is contagious from about 1 week before and four days after onset of the rash.

Rubella is highly contagious and spread through respiratory droplets. They can be passed through coughing, sneezing, or even talking in close proximity.

Rubella is important because of its ability to cause problems with the developing fetus. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) can cause miscarriage; and developmental delay, deafness or cataracts and other birth defects in the newborn.

Prevention of Rubella is by immunization.

More information on Rubella

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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