Rubella and rubeola share similar names. Both are caused by a virus. Both cause a skin rash. And both are considered to be a type of measles.
Though both of these illnesses have similarities they each have different characteristics that can make them each serious diseases. Read on to find out how they differ.
Rubella is also called German measles, while rubeola is regular measles. The biggest difference between the two is that rubella is considered to be a milder disease that only lasts around three days. Rubeola can become a serious illness that lasts several days and can cause other serious permanent complications.
Rubella can be a serious disease for a pregnant woman if she is exposed to someone who has rubella in the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy according to MedlinePlus.
If a pregnant woman is exposed to rubella, it can cause birth defects in the unborn fetus and even miscarriage. The person with rubella may not even have significant symptoms, making it harder for them to know if they are ill.
This is why it is extremely important that a woman of child-bearing age is immunized against rubella. It must however be done at least one month prior to becoming pregnant.
The rash of rubella (German measles) is pink or light red, spotted, and lasts up to three days. Other symptoms may include one to two days of a mild fever, swollen lymph nodes and joint swelling.
People are contagious to others one week before and one week after a breakout. Children recover in about one week but in adults, it may take more time. (1)
The rash of rubeola (regular measles) is a full-body red or reddish-brown rash. However the first symptom is usually a hacking cough, runny nose and high fever.
Additionally, a common marker found in measles are Koplik spots, which appear in the mouth as small red spots with blue white centers. Measles are highly contagious. (4) People with measles are contagious for four days before symptoms occur, and four days after the rash erupts.
Complications of measles can be serious. According to the CDC, 6 to 20 percent will develop an ear infection, diarrhea or possibly pneumonia.