Rubella, commonly known as German measles and also called three-day measles, is a highly contagious viral disease caused by the rubella virus (Rubivirus).
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is used in the West to alleviate rubella symptoms and an eyewash made of eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) to relieve eye discomfort (Longe 2005).
In 1940, there was a widespread epidemic of rubella in Australia.
Rubella was once a common childhood disease, but there is now a highly effective vaccine.
Fewer cases of rubella have occurred ever since a vaccine became available in 1969, which is usually presented in combination against measles and mumps as well and is known as the MMR vaccine.
The vaccine may give lifelong protection against rubella.
Rubella normally is a mild disease, and one in which humans are the only known natural host (Breslow 2002).
In 1969, a vaccine became available, and in the 20 years since its introduction, reported rubella cases dropped 99.6 percent, with only 229 cases reported in the United States in 1996 (Longe 2006).
In 1914, Alfred Fabian Hess theorized that rubella was caused by a virus, based on work with monkeys (Hess 1914).
Friedrich Hoffmann made a clinical description of rubella in 1740 (Ackerknecht 1982).
The birth defects, known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), include cataracts, hearing impairment, heart defects, glaucoma, and mental retardation (Longe 2006; Breslow 2002).
Following primary infection, there is usually lifelong protective immunity from further episodes of rubella.