Serious complications of rubella are rare, particularly since the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was introduced.
However, in the small number of cases where an infection develops in pregnancy, there's a serious risk to the unborn baby.
If a pregnant woman catches rubella, the infection can be passed to her baby. This can result in problems such as Miscarriage and a range of birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome.
Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) occurs when the virus that causes rubella disrupts the development of an unborn baby. It's very rare in the UK nowadays, with only eight cases reported between 2002 and 2011.
The risk of CRS affecting the baby and the extent of the birth defects it causes depends on how early in the pregnancy the mother is infected.
The earlier in the pregnancy, the greater the risk:
There isn't thought to be any risk of CRS developing if you're infected with rubella after the 20th week of pregnancy.
If a pregnant woman does become infected with rubella during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, there's no treatment known to be effective in preventing CRS.
CRS can cause the following problems in babies:
Children born with CRS can develop problems later in their lives as well. These include:
Occasionally, hearing problems aren't obvious at birth, but are detected as the child gets older.
Rubella (german measles) is a viral infection that's now rare in the UK. It's usually a mild condition.
The symptoms of rubella usually take two to three weeks to develop after infection. This time is called the incubation period.
If you suspect rubella, phone your GP surgery or NHS 111 straight away for advice.
There's no specific treatment for rubella. The condition is usually mild and improves without treatment within 7 to 10 days.
Serious complications of rubella are very rare, particularly since the MMR vaccine was introduced.
The best way to avoid catching rubella is to be immunised with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.