TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Case of rubella confirmed at Valparaiso University in Indiana

The Indiana State Department of Health announced the diagnosis on Monday of a case of rubella in an international camper at Valparaiso University in Porter County.

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a contagious, viral respiratory disease that is primarily transmitted through droplet or direct contact. While rubella is rare in the U.S. due to widespread measles, mumps and rubella vaccine availability, visitors from other countries or U.S. citizens traveling abroad can be infected during or before travel.

Local and state health officials are working with Valparaiso University to identify possible other cases. The university is contacting faculty, students and parents who could have been exposed.

Indiana had one case of rubella last year, which was the first case reported since 1996.

Symptoms of rubella include a rash that starts on the face and spreads across the body, along with a low fever. Adults and older children can also get swollen glands and cold-like symptoms prior to the rash. Young women with rubella are more likely to also experience aching joints. Approximately half of individuals with rubella do not have symptoms.

Pregnant women infected with rubella can cause severe birth defects or death in an unborn baby, which is known as congenital rubella syndrome.

Individuals experiencing symptoms of rubella should call their doctor and remain at home away from people, particularly unvaccinated infants, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women.