The rubella virus causes Rubella (sometimes called German measles). A pregnant woman with rubella can pass the disease to her unborn baby (fetus), which may cause birth defects.


You may have not symptoms until 14 to 21 days after you contact the virus. Some people don't have any symptoms. Every infected person can spread the disease. The symptoms of Rubella are:

  • Mild fever
  • Swollen glands, especially behind th ear and at the back of the head
  • Skin rash that starts on the face and spreads to the neck, chest, and the rest of the body
  • Older children and teens may have eye pain, sore throat, and body aches
  • Young children may only have a rash

If you have rubella, you are most contagious from a few days before the rash starts until 5 to 7 days after the rash appears.

Usually, Rubella will go away without any medical treatment.

Preventing Rubella

The best way to prevent rubella is for all family members to get the rubella vaccine. In Canada, a vaccine is available that protects against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Most people get the vaccine in childhood (see the childhood vaccine schedule). This is free for all the Nunavummiut at the health centre.