rubella antibodies-igm / igg (german measles) Test

Three day measles

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clinical definition

What is Rubella

Rubella is a contagious viral infection which is usually mild and characterised by fever and rash lasting up to 2-3 days. The rubella virus generally affects the skin and lymph nodes causing a pinkish-red rash. The rashes are primary rubella symptoms and make its appearance first on the face and later spreads to other parts of the body. Alternatively called as the three-day measles, its duration lasts for about three days and is also known as German Measles. The virus is transmitted through the air via close contact or if a person coughs or sneezes. If a pregnant woman is infected with rubella meaning with the virus, it can infect her unborn child through a bloodstream. People develop an immunity to the disease for the rest of their lives as it occurs and afflicts only once.

what is rubella antibody test and why get tested?

The rubella infection is highly contagious and is only preventable with a rubella vaccine. A rubella antibody test diagnoses detect and measures rubella antibodies in the blood which are produced by the immune system of the body in response to immunization or an infection by the rubella virus. Antibody tests are the most common measures used to confirm the diagnosis of rubella. Most cases must be laboratory confirmed as a clinical diagnosis of rubella is unreliable.


when to get tested

It is necessary to undergo a rubella test at the beginning of pregnancy to determine immunity when an expectant mother has symptoms of rubella-like fever and rash, or if a newborn shows abnormal signs of developments or birth defects caused by an infection in the uterus. A test is also needed to determine if you have sufficient rubella antibodies to protect you from the virus or monitor a past infection.


what is rubella vaccine?

The rubella vaccine is a combination vaccine called MMR, which stands for measles, mumps and rubella. Measles is known as rubeola and is different from Rubella also called German Measles. The Measles Rubella vaccination is combined with the one for Mumps are all the three are common viral illnesses. All children receive two doses of MMR vaccine, the first one at 12-15 months of age and the second one at 4-6 years of age.


reasons to take the rubella antibodies test

As rubella is a mild infection, children do not have any symptoms. Adults experience rash, mild fever, headache and some discomfort before the appearance of rashes. Other common symptoms are

• Muscle or joint pain

• Loss of appetite

• Mild conjunctivitis

• Swollen lymph glands

• Swelling and inflammation of the eyes


sample required

A serum ( blood sample) is required. Blood is generally taken through venipuncture. A blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm of an adult or from a heel prick. In case of a newborn, it is taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn.



No test preparation is needed for this test.


understanding test results

IgM and IgG are two types of rubella antibody tests that labs can detect.

Adult or Child

• The absence of IgG antibodies means that they have not been exposed to the virus or been vaccinated or not protected against it

• Presence of the IgG antibodies but no IgM antibodies shows a past exposure to the virus or vaccination and indicates that if the person is tested he/she should be immune to the virus.

• Presence of IgM antibodies with or without the IgG antibodies reflects a recent infection


• Presence of IgG antibodies with the absence of antibodies means the IgG antibodies have been passed down from the mother to the baby and will protect the baby from the infection.

• Presence of IgM antibodies means the baby has caught the infection during pregnancy as the IgG antibodies have not been passed on from the mother via the umbilical cord.


when do you need us?

A health practitioner may request an IgG and IgM test as a person may have a positive-negative test for IgM rubella antibodies. As the incidence of rubella is low, the test is requested to establish a baseline level of antibodies, and then the IgG test is repeated with a fortnight to monitor any increase to confirm the presence of rubella infection. This is where we can assist you. Our lab facilities offer these tests at affordable rates. We also offer rubella vaccine for children which comes under the combined MMR vaccine ( so that covers the rubella vaccine price in one). We also offer reminders to follow up vaccinations that have to administer to children on a scheduled basis.


how we can help

We offer lab facilities at your doorstep. Just call or book an appointment online for the test that has been requested by your health practitioner. Our lab assistants will come at the slotted time to collect your blood sample. You will receive your reports within 24-36 hours via email. We eliminate the need for you to step into the diagnostics and pathology lab to deliver your blood sample.



Rubella rash resembles other viral rashes. Doctors will, therefore, confirm it with the help of laboratory tests. A virus culture or blood test detects the presence of different types of rubella antibodies in your blood. No rubella treatment will shorten the course of an infection and the symptoms will disappear by themselves without any medication. Doctors are most likely to recommend isolation especially if pregnant during the period of infection.


Understanding results ofRubella antibodies-IgM / IgG (German measles)

Reference RangeInterpretation
Below 5.0 IU/mL (IgG)Negative
5 to 10.0 IU/mL (IgG)Borderline
Above 10.0 IU/mL (IgG)Positive
Above 1.6 index (IgM)Reactive
Below 1.2 index (IgM)Non reactive
1.2 to 1.6 index (IgM)Grey zone

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’