Rubella Avidity Testing

Testing for:

Rubella (German Measles) Immunity

Rubella is a mild viral infection that is rare in the UK. Despite its rarity, however, it still poses a serious threat in pregnancy.


What is rubella (or German measles)?

Rubella is usually a mild viral infection with few complications. When contracted early in pregnancy however, it can pose a major threat to the unborn baby.

What are the symptoms?

The most obvious signs of rubella are swollen glands and a pink, spotty rash. These can be accompanied by cold-like symptoms, a cough, fever, a temperature and aching joints (particularly in adults).

What does this rubella test do?

It tests the level of rubella immunity, which can give you real peace of mind during pregnancy.

How do I get tested?

Book a simple blood test now.

Did You Know?

As of December 2016, 152 countries (out of a possible 194) had introduced national rubella vaccination programmes.

What is rubella?

Rubella is a viral infection like, but not the same as, measles (despite its alternative name of German measles).

Few people catch rubella today. Worldwide, cases number in the tens of thousands each year, but in the UK few people catch it, and often when there is the occasional breakout the infection is discovered to have begun outside the UK and been brought back.

Generally, the effects of rubella are mild. Whilst they are untreatable they usually pass within 7-10 days and leave no lasting effects.

Where rubella can pose a threat is if unimmunised women contract rubella early in pregnancy.

Symptoms of rubella

By far the most noticeable symptoms of rubella are swollen glands around the head and neck and a pink, spotty rash. These may be accompanied by cold-like symptoms, a cough and a fever. In adults, aching joints is common.

Rubella and pregnancy

If a mother contracts rubella and passes it to her unborn baby, the virus can cause miscarriage or stillbirth, or a wide range of developmental defects including:

  • Slowed growth rate
  • Brain, liver or lung damage
  • Eye problems
  • Deafness or hearing impairment
  • Heart defects

The earlier in pregnancy the infection occurs, the greater the risk. In the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, the chances of rubella being passed from mother to baby is as high as 90%. After 20 weeks, the risk is very low.

It is important, however, to place these figures in context. The confirmed cases of rubella (in pregnant women and others) is very low. Confirmed UK cases of rubella-causing birth issues are limited to only a handful each year.

What does rubella immunisation testing do?

When your body is infected by rubella it releases two types of antibodies in response. One (the IgM antibody) is released before the other (the IgG antibody – which provides immunity to rubella).

If the IgM antibody is present in your bloodstream, we know that you are or have recently become infected with rubella. You can test for that here. If both antibodies are present, we know that you are in the later stages of infection. The strength of the bond between the immunity antibody and the infection (otherwise known as ‘avidity’) determines your level of immunity to rubella in the future – the higher the avidity, the greater the immunity.

But not all people respond to the vaccine in the same way. It i possible to receive the vaccine and for it not to be effective. So, if you are planning to get pregnant, you will want to know that you have a high level of immunity to rubella, to protect you and your unborn child.

How do I get tested?

To get tested, please contact Better2Know on the number above.