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What is rubella?
How does rubella spread?
Rubella spreads by close contact among people, such as living in the same house or sharing an office. Sneezing and coughing can spread rubella. You are very unlikely to catch rubella in a shopping mall or in crowded areas.
What about pregnant women and rubella?
Fortunately, rubella in pregnancy is now a rare problem in Canada because most women have been vaccinated against it. The vaccine prevents most – but not all–rubella infections during pregnancy.
If a pregnant woman is not immune to rubella and catches it during the first 5 months of pregnancy, she usually passes the disease on to her fetus.
There is no treatment for rubella infection. The damage that happens to the fetus will last for the child’s whole life.
What can you do to prevent rubella while you are pregnant?
Before you get pregnant, speak to your doctor. If you are not sure whether you have had a rubella vaccine, you should have a blood test. The test will tell you if you are protected against rubella. If you have had rubella infection or have the antibodies from the rubella vaccine, you are most likely protected.
If the blood test shows you are not protected against rubella, you should get the MMR vaccine right away. You cannot get this vaccine when you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant, avoid contact with people who have rashes that cover most of their body and that have been present for less than one week.
How safe is the MMR vaccine?
If you have other questions about these vaccines, ask your doctor.
For more information
“Prevention of congenital rubella syndrome”, a Canadian Paediatric Society position statement developed by the Infectious Diseases and Immunization Committee, is available at <www.cps.ca>.
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your physician.
There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
May be reproduced without permission and shared with patients and their families. Also available at <www.caringforkids.cps.ca>.