June 23rd, 2019

Detroit Reports Rubella Risk, Not Measles

Rubella may have been spread at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit during January 2019

car show with model

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an alert for possible exposure to the Rubella virus. 

This MDHHS message is for people who attended the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, between January 14-27, 2019.   

MDHHS has been notified by another state that a person who attended the Auto Show has been diagnosed with rubella. And, this individual may have been contagious while in Detroit. 

Rubella is an airborne virus and spread through coughing and sneezing. 

Rubella, which is also known as the German measles, is a different virus than the measles virus. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rubella was eliminated from the United States in 2004. 

However, Rubella remains a health risk in other parts of the world and can be brought into the USA by people who get infected in other countries. 

As an example, 2,454 individuals were diagnosed with rubella in Japan during 2018. 

The CDC says less than 10 people in the USA are reported as having Rubella each year. The last Rubella case was reported in Michigan during 2007. 

Rubella is a viral illness and its symptoms can include a low-grade fever, sore throat and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Symptoms can begin between 12 and 23 days, says the CDC. 

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Rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is unvaccinated and infected while she is pregnant. 

Rubella can be prevented with a rubella-containing vaccine, which is primarily administered as the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

Individuals who may have been exposed and are unsure of their vaccination status should contact their healthcare provider with any questions.

In the USA, there are 2 approved rubella vaccines, MMR-II and ProQuad.

Americans can request an MMR vaccine appointment with a local pharmacy at Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

And, MMR vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, similar to medications, can cause side effects, says the CDC. Guidance about how to obtain and complete a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System form can be obtained at VAERS or by calling 800-822-7967.