Signs of rubella
Rubella is an acute viral infectious disease. Her symptoms were first described by the German physician F. Hoffmann in 1740, but the causes of the disease became known only in the 20th century, when rubella virus was isolated and studied in 1961.
Typically, rubella in children is easy, unlike adults, who are characterized by a severe course of the disease. Those who have had rubella have immunity to this virus throughout their lives.
From the moment of infection to the appearance of the first signs of rubella, 11 to 24 days, usually 16–20 days, pass. During this period, some patients may feel unwell, weak, tired, their temperature may slightly increase. Redness of the throat, eyes, runny nose, swollen lymph nodes are also possible.
After the incubation period, a characteristic red rash appears. First, the face is covered with a rash, then the whole body. In children under one year old, a rash appears on the palate.
The rash is a speck of size 5-7 mm, located flush with the skin; the skin does not change and remains smooth. Spots do not increase in size and do not merge. If you press on such a spot, it disappears, and then appears again. Spots occur due to the strong expansion of the subcutaneous capillaries. These are the classic signs of rubella. But sometimes an atypical rash is also possible: these are large spots of 10 mm in diameter or more, increasing in size and merging spots, papules that rise above the skin.
With rubella, the rash is better visible on the trunk, especially on the lower back, buttocks, upper back, in the popliteal and ulnar fossa. A pale and poorly visible rash can be detected with a blood pressure cuff: they put it on the arm and pump it up. As a result, the veins are compressed, the blood in the hand stagnates, the capillaries expand, and the rash intensifies.
The rash disappears after 2-3 days.
If the disease proceeds in a mild or moderate form, the patient’s condition is satisfactory, the temperature is normal or slightly elevated (up to 37 ° C). Sometimes the patient is worried about itching. Possible discharge from the nose, dry cough, pain in the eyes, lacrimation, which is associated with damage to the virus of the mucous membranes of the nose, larynx, throat, conjunctiva.
Rubella virus with blood and lymph enters the lymph nodes, they become inflamed and enlarge. Sometimes the virus enters the liver and spleen, which is why they also increase in size.
Signs of severe rubella are various complications. It may be inflammation of the joint (arthritis) caused by the penetration of the virus into the tissues of the joint. In this case, 1-2 days after the disappearance of the rash in the patient, the joints begin to swell and hurt. Inflammation and its symptoms disappear after 5-10 days.
Due to the action of the virus, a patient may develop thrombocytopenic purpura – a decrease in blood coagulation. This causes the appearance of numerous bruises on the skin (hemorrhagic rash), bleeding gums, heavy and prolonged menstruation, uterine bleeding, blood in the urine.
Another rubella complication is encephalitis, which develops when the virus enters the brain. Encephalitis may appear along with the rash or after it disappears. Symptoms of encephalitis are a significant deterioration in the patient’s well-being, headache, cramps, loss of consciousness, paralysis. Rubella, complicated by encephalitis, is deadly.
Rubella is considered a childhood infection, and indeed, children get it more often. But the disease also occurs in adults. The signs of rubella in adults are the same as in children, only they are more pronounced.
In adults, the disease proceeds with high fever, severe malaise. The rash is more intense and widespread. And rubella complications in adults are much more common than in children.
There are also uncharacteristic forms of rubella. With atypical rubella, the rash does not appear, and the symptoms are similar to those of SARS: nasal discharge, runny nose, sore throat, cough. Well-being at the same time remains normal. Rubella can be suspected only if a person has been in contact with a patient shortly before a malaise.
Sometimes rubella is generally asymptomatic, and it can be detected only by analysis.
Everyone knows that rubella is very dangerous during pregnancy. Women who are diagnosed with this disease are even offered to terminate their pregnancy. This is due to the fact that if the virus enters the fetus, the baby is born with a congenital form of rubella. Its signs are congenital malformations of various organs: the heart (open ductus arteriosus, narrowing of the pulmonary artery), the eye (congenital cataracts, clouding of the cornea, inflammation of the retina, a decrease in the size of the eyeball), the brain (microcephaly), as well as deafness and mental retardation.
Some children have the so-called expanded congenital rubella syndrome, which includes thrombocytopenic purpura (a violation of blood coagulation), a significant increase in the size of the spleen and liver, pneumonia, myocarditis and myocardial necrosis, decreased immunity, and diabetes mellitus.