Pediatric Rubella in Emergency Medicine Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 03, 2017
  • Author: Pamela L Dyne, MD; Chief Editor: Kirsten A Bechtel, MD  more...
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See the list below:

  • The incubation period of rubella is 14-23 days.
  • The prodrome is characterized by the following:
    • Malaise
    • Fever
    • Anorexia
    • Headache
    • Mild conjunctivitis
    • Rhinorrhea
  • The rash develops within 1-5 days of symptom onset, starting on the face and forehead and spreading caudally to involve the trunk and extremities.
    • The rash tends to clear in the same order as it appeared.
    • The rash may be pruritic, but it usually resolves within 3 days without residua.


See the list below:

  • Lymphadenopathy may be present, particularly in the posterior auricular, posterior cervical, and suboccipital chains.
  • The rash consists of pink macules and papules, which may become confluent, resulting in a scarlatiniform eruption.
  • Petechiae of the soft palate, known as the Forchheimer sign, may be present.


Rubella is caused by a single-stranded RNA togavirus.