Rubella, also known as German, is caused by the rubella virus.

What is rubella?

Rubella, also known as German, is caused by the rubella virus.

How is rubella spread?

Rubella is spread through spit (salivary) droplets in the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. You can become infected when you breathe in the saliva droplets or touch objects contaminated with the virus. A person can spread rubella to others seven days before the rash starts to seven days after the rash disappears. But you can spread rubella even if you don’t have any symptoms.

What are the symptoms of rubella?

Rubella symptoms usually last two to five days and include tiredness, mild fever, and swollen glands (lymph nodes) especially behind the ears and at the back of the head. Teens and adults may have muscle and joint pain. People infected with rubella my also get a red pinpoint rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. About half of all people infected with rubella do not get a rash.

What are the risks of rubella?

Rubella usually causes only mild disease. But rubella during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and severe birth defects such as hearing loss, eye problems, heart problems and damage to other organs such as the brain. This is called Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). CRS occurs in 9 out of 10 babies born to women who have rubella in the first three months of pregnancy.

How can I prevent getting rubella?

The best way to not get rubella is to get immunized. The rubella vaccine is combined with the measles and mumps vaccines (MMR) to give protection against all three diseases with one shot. The MMR vaccine is safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get rubella disease. When you get immunized you help to protect others as well.

Who should get the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine is given free (publicly funded) as part of the B.C. routine immunization schedule. Older children and adults can receive the vaccine if they have not been immunized and have not had disease.

Learn more about who should get the MMR vaccine.

Get immunized against rubella by making an appointment with your doctor, pharmacist (for those 5 years and older) or Public Health.

Booking an immunization appointment with Public Health

Residents of Fraser East (Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope), call 604-702-4906

Residents in any other area of Fraser Health, call 604-476-7087 

Hours of operation: Monday to Friday (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)

Note: When making an appointment with Public Health, you will be offered a text message reminder through the ImmunizeBC text message reminder system. 


For more information about rubella and the MMR vaccine, go to: