Rubella Antibody (IgM) Test

Testing for:

Rubella (German Measles)



Rubella is rare in the UK and its effects are not usually serious. Unborn babies, however, can be at serious risk from its effects.


What is rubella (or German measles)?

A viral infection that is not usually serious (except in pregnancy) and which clears up without treatment within 7-10 days.

What are the symptoms?

A cough and cold, a temperature and aching joints (particularly in adults). The most obvious signs of rubella, however, are swollen glands and a pinkish, spotty rash.

What does this rubella test do?

Of greatest use to women who are or are planning to become pregnant, this test checks to see whether you are, or have recently been, infected by rubella.

How do I get tested?

Book a simple blood test now.

Did You Know?

Rubella gets its common name of "German measles" from the fact it was first described by a German physician in the 18th century.

What is rubella?

Rubella is a viral infection that used to be common but is now rare in the UK because of the MMR vaccine (the ‘R’ in MMR is for rubella). Cases do still occur, but these tend to be triggered by someone bringing the infection from outside the UK.

Although commonly known as German measles, rubella is not caused by the measles virus.

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 usually clears without treatment in 7-10 days. Except in pregnancy it is not generally serious, and complications are rare.

Rubella and pregnancy

Whilst rubella generally results in no long-lasting or serious effects, that is not the case during 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% although it is important to note that the total number of such cases identified each year in the UK is in low single figures.

Can I get rubella if I have been immunised?

Yes. Not every vaccine is effective with every person, so it is possible (although extremely rare in the UK) to contract rubella despite being vaccinated.

What does rubella testing do?

Better2Know offers two types of rubella testing. This test looks for antibodies that indicate you are or have recently been infected with rubella. A second test measures ‘avidity’, that is, your level of immunity to rubella. Together, they can help you understand your susceptibility to rubella.

If you are planning to fall pregnant, that can help you build immunity, plan more effectively and put your mind at rest.

How do I get tested?

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