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Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

MMRAdolescent Vaccination Recommendation: Adolescents who were not previously vaccinated should get two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine (with at least 28 days between doses); those who only received one dose previously should get the second dose.

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 it highly contagious and spreads easily 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.

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.

Resources

A Look at Each Vaccine: MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) Vaccine

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP): Learn about measles, how the MMR vaccine is made, side effects, and who should get vaccinated

About Measles

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

About Rubella (German Measles)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About Mumps

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Frequently Asked Questions about Measles in the US

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Measles

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Patient handout

Measles Immunization Materials

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC): Immunization materials for patients and healthcare professionals on measles

Measles Information for Healthcare Professionals

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Measles: Questions and Answers

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC): Information about the causes, signs, symptoms, and complications of measles and information about the MMR vaccine

Measles Vaccination: Who Needs It?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Measles: Signs and Symptoms

Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC)

Understanding MMR Vaccine Safety

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)