Difference Between Rubella and Rubeola

Rubella and rubeola are two viral diseases. Both viruses are RNA viruses. Both are respiratory system infections. Both spread via infected droplets. Both conditions give rise to rashes, which are somewhat alike. Rubeola is also known as measles while Rubella is known as German measles. Despite all these similarities, there are many differences that will be talked about in this article, in detail.


Rubella is also known as three day measles and German measles. Rubella virus is the causative organism. It is an RNA virus, and it spreads via infected droplets. It multiplies in the throat. The patient is contagious for about one week after infection. Rubella attacks are often mild. Rubella features a low grade fever, a rash which starts from face and spreads to the limbs and disappears after three days, and enlarged lymph nodes. Skin may peel off slightly after the rash recovers. Children recover quickly while adults may get severe symptoms. If the mother gets infected during the period of organogenesis, (first 8 weeks of pregnancy) there may be severe irreversible defects in the fetus. Premature birth, low platelet count, low hemoglobin amount, brain, heart, and eye defects can occur due to intrauterine rubella infection. This collection of features is known as congenital rubella syndrome.

Serum IgM for Rubella is diagnostic. All children get the Rubella vaccine as a part of the routine immunization regimen. Mild Rubella infection needs nothing other than supportive care, but congenital cardiac defects need surgical correction.


Rubeola is also known as English measles, measles, and morbilli. A paramyxovirus called measles virus is the causative organism. It is a RNA virus which is highly contagious. It spreads via droplet inhalation. Immunodeficiency, travel to endemic areas, poor nutrition, and Vitamin A deficiency are known risk factors. Classical features of measles include a four day fever with cough, conjunctivitis and coryza. Koplik spots appear inside the mouth, but they are hardly seen even in confirmed cases because they disappear as easily as they appear. Koplik spots are always seen in measles (pathognomonic). Measles rash starts a few days after the fever. It usually starts behind the ears and spread quickly to the face, trunk and limbs. It finally covers most of the body. The rash is itchy and starts with a red color, but fades to brown before disappearing.

Measles can get complicated with diarrhea, pneumonia, middle ear infection, encephalitis, ulceration of cornea and scarring of cornea. Diagnosis may be clinical if Koplik spots are evident, but serum IgM for measles is also confirmatory. There is no treatment for measles. Complications may need antiviral drugs and supportive care. Many children receive the measles vaccine as a part of the routine immunization regimen.

What is the difference between Rubella and Rubeola?

• Rubella virus can spread up to one week after infection while measles spreads for longer than one week.

• Rubella causes a mild disease while measles causes severe symptoms.

• Rash spreads centrifugally in both diseases.

• Measles causes characteristic Koplik spots while Rubella doesn’t.

• Rubella causes a three day fever while measles causes a four day fever.

• Complications of measles are common while complications of Rubella are rare.