Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR)

Measles, mumps, and rubella (German Measles) are serious diseases. They spread when germs pass from an infected person to the nose or throat of others. Vaccination is the best way to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. Because most children get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines, there are now many fewer cases of these diseases. There would be many more cases if we stopped vaccinating children.

Measles causes rash, cough, and fever, and can lead to:

  • Ear infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures (jerking and staring spells)
  • Brain damage
  • Death

Mumps causes fever, headache, and swollen glands under the jaw, and can lead to:

  • Hearing loss
  • Meningitis (infection of brain and spinal cord coverings)
  • Males can have painful, swollen testicles

Rubella causes rash, mild fever, swollen glands, and arthritis (mostly in women). It can lead to pregnant women losing their babies. Babies can also be born with birth defects such as:

  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Heart disease
  • Brain damage
  • Other serious problems

MMR Schedule

Most children should have a total of two MMR vaccines. They should have MMR at:

  • 12 to 15 months of age
  • 4 to 6 years of age or before middle school or junior high school

Other vaccines may be given at the same time as MMR.

Most doctors recommend that almost all your children get MMR vaccine. But there are some cautions. Tell your doctor or nurse if the person getting the vaccine is less able to fight serious infections because of:

  • A disease she/he was born with
  • Treatment with drugs such as long-term steroids
  • Any kind of cancer

For more information, visit your local health department or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona Department of Health.