MMR Vaccine

Measles, mumps and rubella

Measles

Measles a highly infectious viral illness, which spreads rapidly from person to person. It is one of the leading causes of death among young children, the majority occurring in developing countries where immunisation is patchy (WHO 2013).

The Illness

The initial symptoms are like the common cold with runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes and fever. This is followed by a rash, which spreads throughout the body. Complications of measles tend to occur in children under 5 years or adults over 20 years and include encephalitis (infection of the brain) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs).

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for measles.

Mumps

Mumps is a viral infection mainly of childhood and affects the salivary glands.

The Illness

Symptoms appear 2 to 3 weeks after infection and include headache, fever, muscle ache and swelling of the salivary glands.
It tends to be mild in children, but in adults, can lead to complications such as meningitis, deafness and orchitis (infection of the testicles).

Treatment

There is no specific treatment available for mumps.

Rubella

Rubella is an acute viral illness that is spread easily from person to person by coughing or sneezing. It is mainly an infection of children and is generally mild in this group. However, rubella in pregnancy is a severe and potentially fatal illness for the unborn baby.

The Illness

Symptoms include rash and fever and usually occur 2 to 3 weeks after exposure. In adults, it can also cause painful joints and arthritis,

Treatment

There is no specific treatment available for mumps.

Travel precautions

Our recommended vaccines for the most common travel destinations outside of Europe includes Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) vaccines. For travellers who are visiting the developing world on a regular basis or for prolonged periods of time, we would recommend considering hepatitis B vaccine. Cholera is worth considering for travellers visiting rural areas of developing countries. The vaccine against cholera (Dukoral) also reduces the risk of the most common form of traveller’s diarrhoea caused by E coli. Dukoral is an oral vaccine given in two doses one week apart.

Individuals should ensure that they have received two doses of MMR prior to travel to areas where the risk of mumps is high. MMR is part of the childhood vaccination schedule however those who were born between 1980 and 1990 may not have received two doses of MMR vaccine. Individuals born between this time should check w that they have received vaccination.

The MMR Vaccine

The vaccine is effective at preventing all three illnesses and can be given from 12 months of age. It is particularly important to check if you are vaccinated against MMR before travelling as infection is prevalent in Asia, Africa and South America.

Because the illness is easily transmitted through air, MMR immunity is necessary for certain jobs.

Availability

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