II is a vaccine used to help protect people from getting measles, mumps and
rubella (German measles). It can be given to people 12 - 15 months of age and
against these infections is important as they can cause serious problems in
Measles is a serious disease that causes a high fever (temperature),
runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis and a rash. It usually lasts for about 1 to 2
weeks. It is very easily passed from one person to another in the tiny droplets
of moisture which are expelled during coughing or sneezing. One out of every 10
children who catch measles will also have an ear infection or pneumonia. On
rare occasions, measles can also cause an infection of the brain that could
lead to seizures, hearing loss, mental retardation, and even death. Babies and
adults who catch measles are often much sicker for a longer time or are more
likely to die than school children and teenagers who catch measles.
Mumps causes fever, headache, and swollen, painful glands under the jaw
(salivary glands) and usually lasts several days. It is easily passed from one
person to another by the tiny droplets of moisture expelled during coughing or
sneezing. Mumps can sometimes be a very serious disease, causing a mild
inflammation of the coverings of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) in
about one person in every 10 who catch it. About one out of every 4 teenage or
adult males with mumps will have a painful swelling of the testicles for
several days. This does not usually affect their ability to father children,
but can cause sterility in rare cases. Teenagers and adults, especially males,
who catch mumps are often much sicker and more likely to suffer longer than
Rubella is usually a mild disease that causes a mild fever, swollen
glands in the neck, pain and swelling in the joints, and a rash that lasts for
2 or 3 days. Rubella is very dangerous if a pregnant woman catches it. Pregnant
women who catch rubella can have babies who are stillborn, or have heart
disease, blindness, deafness, or problems with learning. Rubella is also spread
to others in the tiny droplets of moisture expelled during coughing or
II contains weakened strains of living measles, mumps and rubella viruses.
These strains of live viruses cause either mild or no symptoms of infection.
When injected the vaccine causes the body to produce its own protection by
making disease-fighting substances (antibodies) against these infections. If a
vaccinated child comes into contact with measles, mumps or rubella virus, the
body is usually ready, and produces antibodies to destroy the virus. However,
as with all vaccines, 100% protection against measles, mumps and rubella cannot
be guaranteed. Also it may take up to 4-6 weeks for maximum protection to
develop, so occasionally infections may occur during this time.
chance of a severe reaction from M-M-R II is very small, but the risks from not
being vaccinated are very serious.