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Rubella, or German measles, is a viral infection that causes a distinctive red rash. While similar to measles, a different virus causes rubella, one that is usually not as infectious or as severe as the measles. In the United States, most children are given the measles-mumps-rubella or MMR vaccine twice before they start school. Because of this, rubella is very rare in America. However, unvaccinated adults that were not born in the U.S. or infants who are not yet vaccinated are at risk of getting rubella.

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1. The Virus and How it Spreads

Togaviridae Rubivirus is the single-stranded RNA virus that causes rubella. It passes from person to person through coughs or sneezes or direct contact with respiratory secretions such as mucus. Infection can occur through droplets in the air or sharing food and drinks with an infected individual. While vaccines have almost eliminated rubella in the United States, cases still occur, especially in adults born in other countries who were not vaccinated as children.

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