Sask. mom warns others after baby is diagnosed with rubella

A Regina, Sask. mom is urging people to vaccinate their kids after her baby became sick with Rubella.

Justine Rombaut said her son Benjamin developed a fever and rash on May 4.

At first, doctors thought he had both eye and ear infections and he was given an antibiotic.

Early Monday morning, Benjamin woke up with a severe fever and tiny red dots on his body, including his palms and the soles of his feet.

Rombaut took him back to the doctor and he was diagnosed with rubella, also called German measles or three-day measles.

Benjamin woke up one day with a severe fever and tiny red dots on his body, including his palms and the soles of his feet. He was given a steroid cream to reduce his discomfort. (Submitted by Justine Rombaut)

According to data reported by Health Canada, there were no recorded cases of rubella in the country up to April 2019.

Rubella is a contagious viral infection that affects the skin and lymph nodes. Symptoms in children include a rash, fever, nausea and red eyes.

In Canada, the rubella vaccine is given in two doses during childhood. You have to be 12-24 months old to receive the first dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and a booster is administered between the ages of four and six years old. The vaccine can protect you for life.

But babies under one, like Benjamin, are at risk of getting sick from people who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

“Go get your kids vaccinated,” said “To be honest, people don’t really think it’s a problem. And it is. It’s a huge problem.”

Rombaut said the doctor told her Benjamin likely came across the virus at the mall, about a week before he began showing symptoms.

“All they had to do is cough or sneeze and it’s airborne,” Rombaut said. “We could’ve put him in a shopping cart and he could’ve caught it walking down the aisle.”

“Wipe off all your handles, anywhere that your baby might touch, you never know. Somebody else could have something and they don’t take any precautions, they don’t care.”

Rombaut says Benjamin’s fever has broken and his rash is going away. (CBC News/Alex Soloducha)

Since it’s a virus, rubella can’t be treated with antibiotics. Benjamin was given steroid cream to stop the itching and pain from his rash. He has also been taking two to three oatmeal baths a day to calm irritation.

Benjamin’s blood was also taken to test him for measles. Rombaut will get the results on Friday.

His fever has broken and his rash is clearing up. Rambaut said he will be left with a few scars from scratching but she is relieved to see his condition improving.

“I’m just happy he’s smiling,” she said.

A person with rubella is contagious for one to two weeks before they get a rash and about one or two weeks after the rash disappears. For now, Rombaut is keeping Benjamin inside so that he doesn’t spread the virus.

Doctors say people can carry it, and even get sick, not knowing they have it.

According to Health Canada, rubella can also be passed be passed from mother to fetus and can result in major birth defects, miscarriage and stillbirth.

“It’s pretty serious to have. I can’t emphasize enough that if you can be vaccinated, go get vaccinated,” Rombaut said.  

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