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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Rubella FAQs

What is Rubella?

Rubella, also called German measles, usually causes only mild illness in children; however, it can have serious consequences for pregnant women, as miscarriages are common among women who get rubella while pregnant. The disease usually occurs in the winter and spring.

How does it spread?

Rubella is very contagious and is spread through droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person when coughing, sneezing or talking. Those with rubella are considered infectious from seven days before the onset of rash, to seven days after the rash has appeared.

What are the symptoms?

  • Low-grade fever which usually lasts about two days.
  • A rash, which usually begins on the face, progresses from head to foot, and lasts about three days. The rash, which is usually fainter than a red measles rash and is often itchy, may be hard to identify as a rubella rash. A rubella rash can be confused with many other illnesses.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, which may begin swelling one week before the rash and remain swollen for several weeks.
  • Joint pain and temporary arthritis, which are uncommon in children, but occur frequently in adults, especially in women.

What is Congenital Rubella Syndrome?

The greatest danger from rubella is to an unborn child. If a woman gets rubella in the early months of her pregnancy (first 11 weeks), her chance of giving birth to a baby with Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) may be as high as 85%. An infant with CRS may be born deaf or blind, have a damaged heart, or intellectual disabilities.

How do I protect myself from Rubella?

  • Get vaccinated. The measles/mumps/rubella vaccine is part of the routine immunization series available to all children in Ontario.
  • Make sure you are immune to rubella before you become pregnant, and get vaccinated if you are not. This prevents you from getting rubella while pregnant, and protects the fetus.


Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, Immunization: Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine, May 2005.

Rubella Fact Sheet printable pdf

Need More Information About Rubella FAQs?

Talk to your health care provider or call our Communicable Disease Program at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349.

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Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.


Symptoms or exposure? Visit for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.