Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)


  • Adolescent Vaccination Recommendation: Adolescents who were not previously vaccinated should get two doses (with at least 28 days between doses); those who only received one dose previously should get the second dose.

About measles, mumps, rubella

Measles is a highly infectious respiratory disease that can result in severe, sometimes permanent, complications including pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death. It is spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. In fact, if a person has measles, 9 out of 10 of his close contacts will get it too, unless they are protected. Symptoms include rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. In March 2011, a measles outbreak began in Minnesota. An unvaccinated infant who got the disease after traveling outside the country spread this highly contagious disease to at least 21 other individuals resulting in 14 children being hospitalized. As of July 2011, there have been 156 measles cases reported nationally, with a hospitalization rate of 50 percent. By the midpoint of 2011, there were more cases than in any full year since 1996.

Mumps is caused by the mumps virus, which lives and reproduces in the upper respiratory tract. It is spread through mucus or saliva when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Mumps can lead to serious complications such as deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, rarely, death. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swelling of the salivary glands. The parotid salivary glands (which are located within the cheek, near the jaw line, below the ears) are most frequently affected, giving the cheeks a puffy appearance.

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a viral disease spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. While rubella is typically mild in children, adults tend to have more complications. The main concern with rubella is infection in pregnant women; if contracted in early pregnancy, it can lead to miscarriage or birth defects, which is another reason why it is important for any female of child-bearing age to be vaccinated. Older children with rubella usually first suffer from low-grade fever, swollen glands in the neck or behind the ears, and upper respiratory infection, before they develop a rash.