Measles, Mumps and Rubella

Measles, mumps, and rubella are viral diseases that can have serious consequences.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases there is. If 1 person has it, 9 out of 10 people close to that person who aren’t immune (protected) will also get measles. And it can be dangerous — serious cases of measles can lead to brain damage and even death.

Measles spreads through the air — like when someone who has it coughs or sneezes. The virus can live for up to 2 hours in the air.

Mumps is a contagious disease — it spreads easily from person to person. And it can lead to serious complications, like hearing loss, swelling of the brain and/or spinal cord covering (encephalitis or meningitis), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, very rarely, death.

Rubella (German Measles) is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It can lead to serious complications, especially for unborn babies. If a pregnant woman gets rubella, she can lose her baby. Babies born to mothers who had rubella can have birth defects that last a lifetime.

Rubella is still common in other countries. People can get the disease when they travel — and spread it to people who aren’t vaccinated when they come home.

There are 2 vaccines that can prevent measles, mumps and rubella:

  • The MMR vaccine protects children and adults
  • The MMRV vaccine protects children from measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox.