The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is alerting attendees of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit of possible exposure to rubella, which is known as the German measles. MDHHS has been notified by another state that one of their residents who attended the Auto Show Jan. 13-15 has been diagnosed with rubella. This person may have been contagious while in Detroit.

Rubella is a viral illness, and its symptoms can include a low-grade fever, sore throat and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. It is an airborne virus that can spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can begin between 12 and 23 days after exposure.  People infected with rubella are most contagious when the rash is erupting, but they can be contagious from seven days before to seven days after the rash appears.

Rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is unvaccinated and infected while pregnant. Rubella can be prevented with rubella-containing vaccine, which is primarily administered as the combination measles-mumps-rubella-containing vaccine and is included in the series of routine childhood immunizations.

If you believe you may have been exposed and are unsure of your vaccination status, contact your healthcare provider. The last time a case of rubella was reported in Michigan was 2007.