M-M-R VACCINE

M-M-R 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 older.

Protection against these infections is important as they can cause serious problems in some people.

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 children do.

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 sneezing.

M-M-R 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.

The chance of a severe reaction from M-M-R II is very small, but the risks from not being vaccinated are very serious.