German measles is a mild viral infection spread by close contact. The infection is recognizable by a red rash and is often associated with flu like symptoms and enlarged neck glands. Also known as rubella (from the Latin rubellus, meaning red), the infection is contagious for approximately one week prior to the emergence of the rash and for four days after.
Normally the disease is mild and relatively harmless, however; links have been made between congenital abnormalities in children whose mothers have contracted the disease during early pregnancy. Pregnant women who believe that they have been exposed to the virus should seek immediate medical attention.
Currently all female children between the ages of 11-14 are vaccinated against the rubella virus to help prevent exposure during pregnancy in their adult life. In all other cases of infection the only treatment necessary is complete bed rest for the duration of the illness.
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