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What is rubella?

Rubella (German measles) is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus.

How do you know if someone has rubella?

Main symptoms:

  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • A distinctive red/ pink rash.
  • High temperature of 38C or more.
  • Cold like symptoms; runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat and cough.
  • Painful or swollen joints.

Other symptoms of the rubella include:

  • tiredness
  • irritability
  • a general lack of energy
  • aches and pains
  • a poor appetite.

How does rubella spread?

Rubella is spread through droplets of moisture from the nose or throat of someone who is infected. These droplets are released into the air when someone:

  • coughs
  • sneezes
  • talks

If you inhale an infected droplet of moisture, you can become infected. This can easily happen through face-to-face contact with someone who is infected, or from just being together in the same room.

How do ambulance staff stop rubella spreading

Ambulance staff take special precautions with patients who have rubella in order to stop it spreading to other people.

Simple hygiene measures reduce the risk of spreading rubella:

  • Everyone should clean their hands before and after touching patients.
  • Hands can be cleaned with soap and water, moist hand wipes or alcohol hand rubs.
  • Staff will wear gloves and aprons when they care for a patient who has rubella.
  • The area where the patient was sitting and any equipment used on the patient will be cleaned using biocidal wipes.
  • If linen is used, eg sheets or blankets, these items will be changed between patients.

Does a patient with rubella have to be transported on their own?

Patients who have rubella must be transported on their own.

Further information is available from the Health Protection Agency website.