Commonly known as German Measles or ‘3-Day Measles’, Rubella is a highly contagious virus which is different from the one that causes measles. Just as this might be surprising for you to learn, here are 10 facts you should consider when making the decision on whether or not to vaccinate your child.
1. MMR is the abbreviation more commonly used for the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella combination vaccine and works by triggering the immune system to produce antibodies against all three.
2. The Global Measles and Rubella Update of November 2018 shows that India had 1,066 confirmed cases of Rubella cases in the year.
3. The Rubella virus is transmitted via airborne droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs openly. Highly contagious, the virus mostly affects unvaccinated children and young adults.
4. Antibiotics cannot kill Rubella. Why? Because like most viruses, Rubella is completely different from bacteria and has an entirely different way to multiply, replicate and survive. This makes vaccination the simplest and easiest course of action.
5. While people who have Rubella are most contagious from 1 week before to 1 week after the rash appears, they could have contracted the diseases anywhere between 2–3 weeks earlier. This long gestation period makes prevention key as someone who is infected but has no symptoms can still spread the virus easily.
6. It's often referred to as a ‘3-Day-measles’ but the joint pain and swelling that accompanies the virus can last for up to a week after for children and go over a week for adults.
7. According to the WHO, even a single dose of the Rubella vaccine can give a child more than 95% protection from the disease. The vaccination is reliable and has been used worldwide for close to four decades.
8. Unlike Measles which severely attacks both child and adults and infects the respiratory system, Rubella mainly infects young children, is mild and attacks the lymph nodes, skin, and eyes.
9. A woman infected with the Rubella virus in week 1-10 of pregnancy has a 90% chance of passing the virus to her foetus. This has led to the startling fact that every year over 40,000 children in India are born with birth defects caused by getting Rubella while still in their mother’s womb or Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
While in some cases, getting infected during pregnancy can result in a miscarriage, the more worrying statistic is that 90% chance of survivor babies have one or more abnormality or impairment and are said to have CRS. Getting vaccinated at least 1 month before you plan to have a baby is the safest way to ensure proper prevention.
10. India has one of the world's largest vaccination campaign against measles, a major childhood killer disease, and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) and both vaccines are now part of the National Immunisation Programme. The first dose is prescribed to be given between 9-12 months and follow up second dose is given between 16-24 months to ensure prevention is complete.
With all this information at our fingertips, it's easy to see how a potentially dangerous disease is also easily preventable if vaccinated early. While children are the most susceptible, proper immunisation can save their lives and in the case of girls, their future children too.
To know more about the Swasth Immunised India campaign, click here.