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Home > Health > Medicine > Diseases > Measles and Rubella Compared

Difference Between Measles and Rubella

Measles vs Rubella

Measles is a viral infection and is of two types. Ordinary measles is referred to as rubeola and is more serious that may cause permanent damage to the victim. On the other hand, rubella is also known as German measles and is relatively mild. It is also called three day illness that does not lead to any complications in children. However, if a pregnant woman catches rubella (German measles), it can have severe consequences with as babies can be born with defects such as cataract, deafness or mental retardation. In some cases there may even be miscarriage of the pregnant woman. Rubella is best known for a distinctive red rash on the body. On the other hand, measles, or rubeola or measles should not be confused with German measles or Rubella though there are many similarities in the symptoms of the two infections. Both viruses are different and measles is far more severe and serious than rubella.

Rubella (German measles), also called three day measles is a mild disease that produces red rashes on the body of kids and usually goes away in three days. This becomes serious if pregnant women catch it and leads to birth defects and even miscarriage.

Measles (rubeola) is caused by rubeola virus and is also called hard measles or red measles or simply measles. It continues for many days though people get well finally. However, it is sometimes associated with pneumonia or encephalitis.

Before the MMR vaccine came along, it was common for measles to break out every 2 years and preschool kids and those going to kindergartens were the worst affected. Both measles and rubella are spread through respiratory route. This implies that both viral infections are contagious and can easily spread through coughing and sneezing.

Someone who has had rubeola as a child cannot have measles again. Immunization is the best way of prevention from these infections. It has to be understood that both are different viruses and one must get immunized for both infections to be safe.

In brief:

• German measles and measles are different viral infections.

• While German measles (rubella) is mild and a three day illness, measles is more serious and can last for many days.

• Vaccination is the only way to be immunized from both viral infections.


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