Last updated on Sep 12th, 2017 at 01:45 pm

Think your little one might have German measles? Look out for these symptoms:

By Lynne Gidish

Also called three-day measles, German measles is a viral infection caused by the rubella virus, explains Dr Donald Tshabalala, a specialist paediatrician at Life St Mary’s Private Hospital in Mthatha.

Who is at risk?

It can affect both children and adults and is transmitted through droplets of fluid when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A pregnant woman can also transmit rubella to her unborn child – especially during the first trimester – resulting in severe malformations.

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ALSO SEE: Measles – what you need to know


Symptoms start appearing after about two weeks of exposure to the virus. These include:

  • A mild red body rash that starts on the face and spreads down the body and usually resolves by day three (up to 40% of children may not present with a rash at all)
  • Low-grade temperature spikes
  • Sore throat
  • Red eyes
  • Headache
  • Enlarged lymph nodes, especially at the back of the ears and neck.

Infectious period

One week before and after the appearance of the rash.


The condition is self-limiting with symptoms subsiding over time. Treatment is symptomatic, so painkillers and fever-reducing medications are used.

Preventative measures

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine should not be given to pregnant women. However, women who have not been immunised are advised to have the shot before falling pregnant. In addition, affected children should be isolated and prevented from interacting with other children.

ALSO SEE: 8 reasons why parents may choose not to vaccinate and why you really should

Red flags

Seek professional help in the presence of:

  • Any signs of bleeding, like a nosebleed, blood in the urine or stool, or bleeding gums
  • Any symptoms of encephalitis such as ongoing headaches, seizures, confusion and difficulty walking.

The post German measles | Signs and symptoms to look out for appeared first on Living and Loving.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.