Rubella Virus - WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW!
The Rubella Virus
The Rubella Virus - What do we know about this virus? Do we know enough?
Let me give you a history of the virus before we get started. CRS- Congenital Rubella Virus was first discovered during the 1940s, and the Rubella virus was isolated in the 1960. During that same decade the Rubella vaccine also became available. The importance of the Rubella infection was first recognized in the US in 1941. In different countries like Sweden, UK, and even the US, it was established that the Rubella Virus was not just a rash, but more of a serious life-threatening disease especially during pregnancy. Studies on infants have indicated that the virus can be more affective and will manifest itself to three core organs in the body. (The Optic Lens, Cochlea and the Heart). The consequences to the Rubella epidemic led researchers to have a vaccine available. According to the CID journal in the spring of 1963, an epidemic of rubella started in Europe and subsequently spread to the United States in 1964 and 1965, leaving thousands of damaged infants in its wake. Meanwhile, a second dose of MMR vaccine became standard, and the Scandinavian countries began systematic efforts to eliminate rubella. Finland was a leader in this respect and, by maintenance of high coverage and monitoring by serologic testing, succeeded in eliminating rubella completely.
Now what is the Rubella Virus?
Rubella, commonly known as German Measles is an infection that affects the skin and the lymph nodes. This can be transmitted through a droplet from the nose or the throat of a person. This can also affect pregnant women and in turn be passed on through the bloodstream to the baby. The virus usually appears in non-immunized young adults rather than kids. Rubella symptoms become visible after 1-3 days with a really high fever (99°F- 100°F) with swollen and tender lymph nodes. The next sign is when rash starts to build up in the face and travels down the body. This is often the first sign of the illness. The rash can appear like any other virus, the spots that appear have a pink to red color and look like evenly shaped patches. The rash can cause mild- severe itching and can last up to 3 days. After the rash, the skin can become flaky and start to shed. The other most common sign that appears in mostly in teen who are infected with the virus are: Loss of appetite, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, pain in the joints, dilated pupils and some people with Rubella may not have any symptoms at all.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) the Rubella virus is moderately contagious. This disease is most contagious when rashes start to appear. Can be spread from one person to another through a droplet from the nose or the throat of the infected person. People who are infected with the virus can be contagious 1 week before to 1 week after the rashes appear. Infected infants can spread the virus in urine or fluids from the nose and throat for more than a year.
Pregnancy and the Rubella Virus -
An infection from this virus can cause miscarriage, preterm birth and stillbirth, these all depend on how much of the virus you have contracted. The risks are much higher during the earlier stages of pregnancy. If a mother contracts Rubella during the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy then there is a much higher chance that the unborn child will have CRS. On the other hand, the rate of CRS in a newborn while the mother is at 13-16 weeks is at 54% and the rate just goes down. There's a wide range of other problems that it can cause such as: Blindness, Neurological disorders, heart malformations, and mental retardation. When a child contracts Rubella, the symptoms first appear like the flu but then progress into the mild-severe rash on the face and the body.
The vaccine -
This vaccine is a “live” and weak form of the natural German Measles, this is done by a process called “Cell Culture Adaptation”. This process allows and modifies the virus so that it adapts differently when it enters the body of a person. Usually this virus grows in cells that line the back of the throat or lungs. The measles virus reproduces itself over a thousand times when it's in the body, but this process changes when the vaccine is injected, since the virus then is weak and poor. Of course German measles are very contagious, therefore the infected person can quickly expose who are susceptible.
Difference between Rubeola and Rubella-
The difference between Rubeola and Rubella are that... Rubeola virus causes “red measles” known otherwise as “Hard measles” this can lead to pneumonia or inflammation of the brain. (Easily Spread)Rubella on the other hand “three day measles” This is usually a milder disease than Rubeola and can cause birth defects in unborn children.
Doctors recommend that children receive the MMR vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age, and again between 4 and 6 years of age. It's particularly important that girls receive the vaccine to prevent rubella during future pregnancies.
You don't need a vaccine if you:
Already had two doses of the MMR vaccine after 12 months of age or one dose of the MMR vaccine plus a second dose of measles vaccine. Have blood tests that indicate you're immune to measles, mumps and rubella.
You should get the vaccine:
Are a non-pregnant woman of childbearing age, Attend college, trade school or postsecondary school, Work in a hospital, medical facility, child care center or school.
Conclusion - Rubella Virus
In conclusion, the effectiveness and the pricing on the vaccines make Measles and Rubella immunization highly cost effective. We must work together in order to keep a clean and safe environment from any infectious diseases. Measles and rubella control and elimination efforts over the past decade have demonstrated that not only can measles deaths be quickly reduced but, as the Americas have shown, that both diseases can be eliminated.