Does this test have other names?
German measles, rubella antibody test, 3-day measles
What is this test?
This test measures the amount of rubella antibodies in your blood to see if you have
immunity against the rubella virus.
Rubella is also called the German measles. It is a very contagious disease that's
easily spread through coughing, sneezing, and spitting. In young children, rubella
is usually a mild disease with symptoms that include sore throat and fever. Adults
may have pink eye, headache, and discomfort up to 5 days before a rash appears.
It's important to know whether you have antibodies against rubella. This is especially
true if you're pregnant or know that you have been exposed to the virus. Getting rubella
when you're pregnant can be especially dangerous for your fetus. A rubella infection
can cause miscarriage or a stillborn infant in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. It
can also cause many serious birth defects. These are more likely if the infection
occurs in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Defects include heart defects, intellectual
disability, liver problems, deafness, blood disorders, and cataracts. Infants may
later have delayed motor skills, behavioral disorders, autism, immune disorders, thyroid
problems, diabetes, and digestive disorders.
Once you've had rubella, you may get a natural immunity so you won't get it again.
If you're not immune or never had rubella, you can get vaccinated.
Why do I need this test?
If you are pregnant, you will have this test as part of your routine prenatal exams.
If you aren't immune to rubella, you can be vaccinated against the infection. But
the shot is not recommended for women who are already pregnant. Women should not get
pregnant for at least a month after having a rubella vaccine.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
If you are pregnant, your healthcare provider may order a series of tests to look
at your overall health. Your provider may also check for:
Blood type (A, B, AB, or O)
Rh factor (Rh positive or negative)
Iron and hemoglobin levels
Sexually transmitted diseases
Inherited diseases such as hypercholesterolemia, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia,
thalassemia, and Tay-Sachs disease
What do my test results mean?
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses
to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare
Normal results are positive, meaning that you have enough antibodies to give immunity
against the rubella virus. Negative results mean that you don't have enough antibodies.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis or mononucleosis, you may have a false-positive result.
If your immune system does not work the way it should, this test may give inaccurate
How is this test done?
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your
When a blood sample is taken from a baby, it is usually drawn from the heel or, in
a newborn, from the umbilical cord.
Does this test pose any risks?
Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection,
bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight
stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.
What might affect my test results?
If you've been treated for an immune system disorder or had a transfusion, you may
get a false-positive result. People who have been exposed to parvovirus may also get
How do I get ready for the test?
You don't need to prepare for this test.