Measles Home > Rubella Incubation Period

The rubella incubation period is the time between when a person first becomes infected with the virus and when symptoms first appear. On average, the incubation period for rubella is 14 to 21 days. It is possible to transmit rubella to others during the rubella incubation period.

An Overview of the Rubella Incubation Period

When a person becomes infected with the rubella virus, the virus begins to multiply within the cells that line the back of the throat and nose. The rubella virus can also spread through the bloodstream or lymph system to other parts of the body, including the:
 
  • Joints
  • Lungs
  • Eyes
  • Thymus
  • Tonsils
  • Spleen
  • Testes
  • Skin
  • Brain.
     
After 14 to 21 days, on average, rubella symptoms can appear. This period between the rubella transmission and the start of rubella symptoms is known as the "rubella incubation period."
 

Is a Person Contagious During the Rubella Incubation Period?

A person is contagious during the later part of the rubella incubation period. A person is especially contagious anytime from about seven days prior to the onset of the rash to seven days after the rash develops. However, a person can spread rubella if he or she becomes infected with rubella virus, even if rubella symptoms never develop.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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