Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Immunity Profile
The measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles) are three very highly contagious viral diseases that can lead to serious health concerns.
Measles, also known as rubeola, is a highly contagious viral infection, which can be spread in the air or by coming into contact with someone infected. The first sign of the measles is a high fever. It can take anywhere from seven to 14 days for those infected with the virus to experience any symptoms. Besides fever, other symptoms that typically occur include1:
• Dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, and red eyes
• Rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body
Measles can cause life-threatening complications and be especially dangerous for young children or those with compromised immunity.1 It's important to understand that those infected with the virus can be contagious before experiencing any symptoms themselves.
Mumps is a viral infection of the salivary glands and usually causes swelling in glands below the ears, causing the cheeks to look more pronounced (chipmunk cheeks). Other signs and symptoms include6:
• Pain while chewing or swallowing
• Muscle aches
• Weakness and fatigue
• Loss of appetite
Before the MMR vaccine, mumps was the most common cause of both meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and acquired deafness in the U.S. In men, mumps can infect the testicles, which can lead to infertility.
Some vaccinated people may still get mumps if they are exposed to the virus. However, disease symptoms are milder in vaccinated people.5
Rubella, also known as German measles, can cause a mild rash on the face and swelling of glands behind the ears. Other symptoms that may occur 1 to 5 days before the rash appears include7:
• a low-grade fever
• mild pink eye (redness or swelling of the white of the eye)
• general discomfort
• swollen and enlarged lymph nodes
• runny nose
Most adults who get rubella have a mild illness. However, rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant.8
Are You Immune?
Fortunately, the measles is preventable by having immunity developed from either vaccination or having had measles previously. If you have received the standard two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine after 1967, you should be protected against the measles for life.4 Having written documentation of having received adequate vaccination is considered acceptable evidence of immunity.5
Individuals Born Before 1957 or Immunized Before 1967
Most people born before 1957 are thought to have been infected naturally with the virus through measles outbreaks. Vaccines administered between 1963-1967 may or may not be effective depending on what version was received.2
If you were vaccinated in the 1960's, you might need to receive a “live" vaccination since "killed" versions of the vaccine given out during that time were deemed ineffective.2 If you have documentation of having received a live vaccine, you do not need to be revaccinated.5
This test can be used to confirm immunity for measles, mumps, and rubella developed either by previous exposure or vaccination.
No special preparation.