Your dose of information as promised. From a page of Dr. Poonam Sambhaji’s notes, read about Measles, Mumps and Rubella – and one vaccine to rule them all. 

Child Getting Vaccinated


What is measles?

Measles is a serious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. In rare cases, it can be deadly. The only measles vaccine & measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine protects against measles.

What are the symptoms of measles?

• Measles starts with a fever, and can get very high.

• Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes.

• Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads

to the rest of the body.

• The rash can last for a week, and coughing can last for 10 days.

• Some children who get measles also get diarrhea or an ear infection.

How serious is measles?

Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. For some children, measles can lead to pneumonia, a serious lung infection. It can also cause lifelong brain damage, deafness, and even death. About 150,000 to 175,000 people die from measles each year around the world—mostly in places where children do not get the measles vaccine.

How does measles spread?

Measles spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It is very contagious. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even after that person is gone. And you can catch measles from an infected person even before they have measles rash.

What is mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. There is no cure for mumps, and it can cause long-term health problems. The MMR vaccine protects against mumps.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Mumps usually causes the following

• Fever

• Headache

• Muscle aches

• Tiredness

• Loss of appetite (not wanting to eat)

• Swollen glands under the ears or jaw

These symptoms last 7 to 10 days.

Some people with mumps have no symptoms. Others feel sick but do not have swollen glands.

How serious is mumps?

Most children infected with mumps recover fully, but the disease can occasionally cause serious, lasting problems. These include meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) and deafness. In rare cases, mumps is deadly.

How does mumps spread?

Mumps spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Mumps can spread before swollen glands appear and for 5 days afterward. Children with mumps should stay home from school or child care settings for at least 5 days to avoid spreading the disease to others.

What is rubella?

Rubella, sometimes called “German measles,” is a disease caused by a virus. The infection is usually mild with fever and rash. But, if a pregnant woman gets infected, the virus can cause serious birth defects. The MMR vaccine protects against rubella.

What are the symptoms of rubella?

Rubella usually causes the following symptoms in children:

• Rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body

• Low fever (less than 101 degrees)

These symptoms last 2 or 3 days. Older children and adults may also have swollen glands and symptoms like a cold before the rash appears. Aching joints occur in many cases, especially among young women. About half of the people who get rubella do not have symptoms.

How serious is rubella?

In children, rubella is usually a mild disease. In rare cases, serious problems can occur. These include brain infections and bleeding problems. Rubella is most dangerous for a pregnant woman’s fetus. It can cause miscarriage or birth defects like deafness, intellectual disability, and heart defects. As many as 85 out of 100 babies born to mothers who had rubella in the first 3 months of her pregnancy will have a birth defect.

How does rubella spread?

Rubella spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease is most contagious when the person has a rash. But it can spread up to 7 days before the rash appears. People without symptoms can still spread rubella.

What is the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine is a shot that combines vaccines for three diseases—measles, mumps, and rubella. The vaccine protects children by preparing their bodies to fight the measles virus. Almost all children (95 out of 100) who get two doses of MMR vaccine will be protected from measles.

Why should my child get the MMR vaccine?

The risk of measles may be very high for unvaccinated residents. Worldwide, about 20 million people get measles each year. So, two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended for all.

One mom’s measles story:

Asha Khemani knows first-hand how serious measles can be. Her 8-month-old son got measles from an infected child in the waiting room at his doctor’s office. That child, who was not vaccinated. Asha’s son got better and had no lasting effects of the illness. But he was very sick with measles. He spent 3 days in the hospital with an IV (a needle in the vein to give fluids) because he was unable to eat or drink. When he went home, he had another week of illness and high fevers. At 8 months, Megan’s son was too young to get the Measles vaccine ( its administered at 9 months usually). That’s why he got sick with measles. At 12 months, Asha took him to get the Measles vaccine. Even though he couldn’t get measles again, his Mom knew the vaccine would protect him against mumps and rubella, two other serious diseases.

Asha says ” This way, he won’t suffer from mumps or rubella, or spread them to anyone else,”.

When should my child get the MMR vaccine?

Masles vaccine is given at 9 months. Children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine at the following ages for best


• The first dose at 12 through 15 months, and

• The second dose at 4 through 6 years old.

Children often get MMR vaccine at the same time as other vaccines. This is safe, even for young children. During an outbreak, health officials may recommend the MMR vaccine be given to infants younger than 12 through 15 months of age, sometimes even to children as young as 6 months of age.

Is the MMR vaccine safe?

The MMR vaccine is very safe, and it is effective at preventing measles (as well as mumps and rubella). Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Most children who get the MMR vaccine have no side effects. Those that do occur are typically very mild, such as a fever or rash.

If my child does not get the MMR vaccine, will he get measles?

Almost everyone who has not had MMR vaccine will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus..