Rubella is a viral infectious disease that is transmitted by droplets (coughing, sneezing, etc.).


Rubella is a viral infectious disease that is transmitted by droplets (coughing, sneezing, etc.). It is most often caught between the ages of 5 and 9. Rubella is therefore classed as a childhood disease, but can occur at any age. The disease presents with a skin rash that starts behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body. It is accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes.



  • Incubation period: 2-3 weeks
  • In spite of having caught the disease, children are often asymptomatic (approx. 50% of cases)

Typical symptoms

  • Slight impairment of general health
    • Mild progression is usual (the younger, the milder)
  • Reddened eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches and joint pain
  • Slight fever
  • Swollen and painful lymph nodes (neck and behind the ears)
  • Skin rash
    • Starts behind the ears
    • Spreads to the rest of the body
    • Flat or slightly raised spots, unconnected
    • Red or pale
    • Itching
    • Rash disappears after approx. 4 days

Risk groups

  • Pregnant women who have never had rubella or a rubella vaccination
    • Risk of congenital rubella syndrome (birth defects in unborn child)
  • Immunocompromised persons (cancer, autoimmune disorders, AIDS)
  • Older people


Causes and treatment


  • Pathogen: rubella virus
  • Transmission
    • Droplet infection (coughing, sneezing, surfaces, etc.)
    • Mother to unborn child (via placenta)

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Physical examination
  • Blood test
  • Search for pathogen, if necessary
    • Symptoms aren't always clear
    • E.g. to assess risk for pregnant women
Possible therapies
  • Treatment of symptoms
    • Painkillers and fever-reducing medication
    • Anti-itching cream/lotion

What can I do myself?

When to see a doctor?

Further information

Federal Office of Public Health, FOPH (Bundesamt für Gesundheit, BAG)


rubella, third disease, German measles

Health insurance premiums at a glance

Calculate premium

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

CSS Insurance – your health partner

Being healthy, getting well or living with illness: as your health partner, CSS Insurance is by your side on your journey through life.

Well looked