Measles is a viral infection that can cause rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.
Mumps is a viral infection that can result in fever, headache, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, infection of the brain and spinal cord covering, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and sterility.
Rubella is a viral infection that can result in a rash, mild fever, or arthritis. Pregnant women who have rubella are at increased risk for miscarriage. Their babies may be born with severe birth defects.
The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine consists of 3 live viruses made in chicken embryo cells. The viruses found in the vaccine have been made harmless during the manufacturing process.
The vaccine is given under the skin.
All children with few exceptions should receive the vaccine twice:
The vaccine can also be given to infants younger than 12 months but older than 6 months, who will be traveling internationally. These infants should also get the 2 routine shots at ages 12-15 months and 4-6 years.
Adults born after 1956 who have not been previously vaccinated may need at least 1 dose. Talk with your doctor if you were not previously vaccinated.
The majority of people who get the vaccine do not have any side effects. The most common side effects are a fever and a rash 1-2 weeks after vaccination. Redness and swelling at the injection site may occur. Rare complications include:
In some cases, the vaccine should be delayed, such as:
Most children and teens should receive their vaccinations on schedule. However, certain groups should not be vaccinated:
If you have measles, mumps, or rubella, you should be isolated to stop the virus from spreading by staying at home until the virus is over. Notify others you have been in contact with that they may have been exposed to the virus.
A case of the measles, mumps, or rubella needs to be reported to public health authorities. If you think you or your child has the measles, mumps, or rubella, call the doctor right away.
Anyone who may have been exposed and has not been fully immunized will need to receive the vaccine.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 9, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Measles, mumps, and rubella: vaccine use and strategies for elimination of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome and control of mumps: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00053391.htm. Published May 22, 1998. Accessed June 7, 2016.
MMR vaccine: What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.pdf. Updated April 20, 2012. Accessed June 7, 2016.
5/27/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Measles—United States, January—May 20, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60(20):666-668.
Last reviewed June 2015 by Marcie Sidman, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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