Diagnosing rubella

Rubella is one of several viruses that can cause similar symptoms, so you should speak to your GP for a diagnosis. 

Arrange a time that won’t put other people at risk. A blood test is the only way to confirm a diagnosis.

The blood test checks your level of rubella antibodies and will show if you have rubella or have had it in the past:

  • The IgM antibody will be present if you have a new or recent infection
  • The IgG antibody will be present if you have had a past infection or been immunised against rubella
  • If neither antibody is present you do not have rubella or have not been immunised

Diagnosis in pregnant women

If you are pregnant and have some rubella symptoms, your GP may want to test you for the infection to rule it out early on. This is because of risk to the baby of birth impairments developing if rubella infection occurs in early pregnancy.

You should see your GP if you have had face-to-face contact with someone who has rubella, or if you have spent more than 15 minutes in the same room as someone who has rubella.

If you have not previously been immunised against the infection, your GP may wish to do further tests.

If testing shows that you have rubella you will be referred to a doctor who specialises in conditions that can affect unborn babies. They may be able to determine the type and extent of any impairments the baby may be born with.

First published: Monday 21 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 15 October 2013