What is rubella serology?

Rubella serology is a test for German Measles (Rubella) immunity or infection. In Australia, it is routinely performed in pregnant women, because infection of the unborn foetus with this virus can have devastating consequences.

How is rubella serology performed?

Rubella serology is performed on a sample of blood, and measures two classes of antibodies: Rubella IgG and Rubella IgM.

When would you need rubella serology?

Rubella serology is usually performed as a routine test in pregnancy, to confirm that the mother has antibodies in her blood to protect against future infection with the rubella virus. These antibodies are acquired by being immunised as part of the routine vaccination schedule in childhood, or from having had Rubella (German Measles) infection. A pregnant woman whose immunity (antibodies) to Rubella is unknown or deficient, should usually have Rubella Serology tested if she develops a rash, or has contact with a rash, that looks like German Measles.

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Test results, explained

Rubella IgG is indicative of infection in the past – it takes some time to be produced by the body. Therefore IgG POSITIVE means previous infection or immunisation, and usually adequate protection against getting the disease.

Rubella IgM indicates current or very recent infection; IgM NEGATIVE means that the patient does not have a new infection. IgM POSITIVE usually means a new or recent infection with the Rubella virus, although in rare cases IgM may persist for years after a previous infection or immunisation.

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Also known as

  • Rubella Antibodies
  • Rubella Antibody Titre

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.