Rubella Antibody (IgM)

There are no preparation instructions.

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Also known as: Rubella Antibody IgM

Rubella Antibody (IgM)

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The Rubella Antibody (IgM) test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Description: The Rubella IgM test is used to measure the blood’s serum for rubella IgM antibodies, which may be present because of an active infection.

Also Known As: German Measles test, 3 Day Measles Test, Three Day Measles Test, Rubella Infection Test

Collection Method: Blood draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Rubella Antibody IgM test ordered?

It is required anytime a check for rubella immunity is required. When a pregnant woman exhibits signs and symptoms that could indicate a rubella infection, IgM and IgG rubella tests may be conducted.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms:

  • Fever (mild)
  • A pink rash that starts on the face and extends downhill to the body, legs, and arms; once the rash goes to the body, it may disappear from the face.
  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • Eyes that be red or inflamed
  • Joints that hurt
  • Lymph nodes swollen

A health practitioner will need to request the tests to confirm the diagnosis because numerous illnesses can cause identical symptoms.

IgM and IgG tests may be ordered for a newborn if the mother was diagnosed with rubella during pregnancy and/or if the newborn is born with congenital rubella syndrome-related birth abnormalities such as hearing loss, heart defects, or clouded lens of the eyes.

Because antibodies to rubella take time to form after infection, the tests may be repeated after day 5 of sickness onset and 7-21 days following the initial samples to examine if antibody levels have become detectable and to see if they are rising or dropping over time.

This test is still necessary for women in some states as part of the blood testing required to acquire a marriage license.

What does a Rubella Antibody IgM blood test check for?

The rubella test detects antibodies in the blood that form as a result of a rubella infection or immunization. Rubella testing can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Ascertain that you are protected against the rubella virus.
  • Find out if you've had an infection recently or in the past.
  • Determine who has not been exposed to the virus and who has not received a vaccine.
  • Check to see if all pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant have enough rubella antibodies to prevent infection.

Rubella is a viral infection that normally causes a slight fever and rash that lasts two to three days. The infection normally goes away on its own. Rubella, on the other hand, can cause major difficulties in the developing infant if a pregnant woman acquires it for the first time during the first three months of her pregnancy.

A rubella test may be ordered for anyone, pregnant or not, who is experiencing symptoms that a doctor believes are caused by a rubella infection. It may also be ordered for a newborn who is suspected of contracting rubella during pregnancy or who has congenital birth abnormalities that a doctor suspects are caused by the illness.

IgM and IgG antibodies are the two types of rubella antibodies that lab tests can detect:

The IgM rubella antibody is the first to develop in the blood following exposure. Except in an infected infant, where it may be observed for several months to a year, the level of this protein rises and peaks in the blood within about 7 to 10 days after infection and then tapers off over the next few weeks.

The IgG rubella antibody takes a little longer to surface than the IgM, but once it does, it stays in the bloodstream for the rest of the patient's life, protecting them from re-infection. IgM rubella antibodies in the blood indicate a recent infection, whereas IgG antibodies can indicate a current or past rubella infection, or that a rubella vaccine was given and is giving appropriate protection.

The IgM rubella test is the gold standard for a fast rubella laboratory diagnosis. The presence of an increase in IgG rubella in blood samples taken when a person is sick and later as they recover can be used to confirm infection. Antibody testing differ between laboratories, and the state health agency can advise on available laboratory services and recommended tests.

Lab tests often ordered with a Rubella Antibody IgM test:

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Varicella Zoster Virus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

Conditions where a Rubella Antibody IgM test is recommended:

  • Rubella
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Travelers’ Diseases
  • Pregnancy

How does my health care provider use a Rubella Antibody IgM test?

Antibody tests for Rubella can be used to:

  • Confirm if a person is virus-free due to previous infections or vaccinations.
  • Diagnosis of a rubella outbreak
  • In order to protect the public's health, epidemics must be detected, monitored, and tracked.

Antibody analysis

Antibody testing can be used to confirm immunity, identify a current infection, or follow outbreaks. Antibodies to the rubella viruses are viral-specific proteins produced by the immune system in response to infection with the virus or immunization. IgM and IgG antibodies are the two types of antibodies generated. IgM antibodies are the first to emerge in the blood after exposure or immunization. IgM antibody levels rise over several days to a peak, then gradually decline over the next few weeks. IgG antibodies take a little longer to develop, but once they do, they remain positive for the rest of your life, protecting you from re-infection. By comparing the levels of antibody in two blood samples taken weeks apart, it is sometimes possible to distinguish between an active and past infection.

What do my Rubella Antibody IgM test results mean?

When IgM antibodies to rubella are present in someone who hasn't been vaccinated recently, it's likely that they have a current rubella infection. When both IgM and IgG antibodies are present, or there is a fourfold increase in concentrations between acute and convalescent IgG antibody testing, it is likely that the person is now infected or has recently been infected with rubella.

When a person who has been vaccinated and/or is not currently ill possesses rubella IgG antibodies, that individual is protected from infection (immune). A person is not deemed immune to the virus if they do not have rubella IgG antibodies. This could be due to the fact that the person hasn't been exposed to the virus, the IgG hasn't had enough time to mature, or the person doesn't have a typical antibody response.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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