INDIANAPOLIS—A case of rubella (German measles) has been diagnosed in an international student at Valparaiso University in Porter County. State and local health officials are working with the university to identify potential additional cases.
Rubella is a contagious, viral respiratory disease transmitted primarily through direct or droplet contact. Rubella is rare in the United States due to the widespread availability of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, however visitors from other countries or U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected before or during travel. Indiana had one case of rubella in 2012, but prior to that, the state had not had a case since 1996.
The major public health risk associated with rubella is congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which occurs when a pregnant woman is exposed to rubella. Infection may cause severe birth defects or death in an unborn baby.
Individuals in the Porter County area and on campus may have been exposed to rubella. If you visited the following locations on Sunday, July 7, 2013, please contact your health care provider to check your immunization status.
• Target (2420 Laporte Ave., Valparaiso)
• 7-11 (708 E. Lincoln Way, Valparaiso)
Valparaiso University is contacting students, faculty and parents who may have been exposed.
More than 95 percent of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to rubella and more than 99 percent will be protected after receiving a second dose. One dose of rubella-containing vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella) is needed to be fully protected. Individuals are encouraged to check with their health care providers to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date.
Children are routinely vaccinated for rubella at 1 year of age, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten.
In children, rubella usually causes a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body, accompanied by a low fever (less than 101 degrees). These symptoms last two or three days. Older children and adults may also have swollen glands and symptoms like a cold before the rash appears. Aching joints occur in many cases, especially among young women. About half of the people who get rubella do not have symptoms.
What you can do
If you are experiencing the symptoms of rubella and feel you may have been exposed, stay home and call your doctor. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and alert your doctor if you think you have been in contact with an infected person. If you are ill with rubella, remain home and away from others, especially pregnant women, unvaccinated infants and people with diseases affecting their immune systems.
For more information about rubella, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Rubella/.
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov.
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