Tonga: Alert over German measles

Public health authorities in Tonga are working to prevent spread of German measles after a patient had been tested positive for rubella this week.

Vaiola medical officer of health ‘Ofa Tukia reportedly said patients were diagnosed with rare disease after they visited  the hospital this week.

On one occasion they decided to test a patient for rubella and the disease was confirmed by a laboratory.

No further details given about the patient.

The hospital said they are waiting for more blood test results of patients that have been sent to New Zealand.

WHAT IS RUBELLA?

* Rubella, commonly known as German measles, is a disease caused by the rubella virus.

* The disease can last one to three days.

* Infection of the mother by rubella virus during pregnancy can be serious.

* If the mother is infected within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, the child may be born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which entails a range of serious incurable illnesses.

* Spontaneous abortion occurs in up to 20 per cent of cases.

* The virus is transmitted via airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract of active cases.

* The disease has an incubation period of two to three weeks.

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