Disclaimer: This article is for information only. Compiling the information has been done with care but we make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care expert for updates or when in doubt.
What is the MMR vaccine?
MMR stands for Measles-Mumps-Rubella (German measles). The vaccine has been around for over 30 years, since the early 1970s. The episodes of serious illnesses has dwindled sharply since the vaccine.
is a viral infection that begins with a cough, runny nose, fever and 'pink eye'. This is followed by a rash which spreads all over the body and lasts for a week. Dehydration is also normally a consequence. A more severe ramification is pneumonia especially in younger children while a brain infection called encephalitis is more common in older kids. Before the vaccine, millions of measles cases abounded but now there are only a couple of hundreds with no reported deaths. The virus usually grows in the cells at the back of the child's throat and in the cells lining the lungs. The vaccine is a live but weakened virus either combined with mumps and rubella or can be given individually; this will mean that the measles virus can replicate a little in some children, usually in the form of rashes or fever but none of the virus has been detected in the throat, respiratory tract or skin and therefore transmission of vaccine virus from one person to another has not been recorded so far.
too is caused by virus and tends to infect children below ten. Initially a swelling will occur just below the ear which will last for about a week. Before the mumps vaccine, viral meningitis was commonly caused by the mumps virus. Like the measles vaccine the mumps vaccine is a live, weakened virus and like the measles virus the virus is weakened when it is grown in chicken cells so that it will create immunity in children without causing the disease. Like the measles vaccine the mumps vaccine can be administered to children with egg allergy.
better known as German measles, is also caused by a virus. It starts with a fever, slight rash all over the face which resembles a mild form of measles, swollen glands and painful joints. Most of the time harmless, rubella can result in encephalitis. If a pregnant woman develops rubella especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy, the newborn may be born with defects such as blindness, deafness, heart defects or retardation. Medical intervention is not necessary for all three viral infections since the diseases have to run the course; measles, mumps, rubella rarely infects the same person twice. Rubella vaccine serves as an example of vaccinating one person to provide protection to another i.e. girls are vaccinated so that in future when they become pregnant as adults, their unborn babies will be protected from the harmful disease while vaccinated boys help stop the spread of the virus.
Dose: The three vaccines, Attenuvax (for measles), Mumpsvax (for mumps) and Meruvax II (for rubella), are manufactured separately and combined into a single shot. Most doctors carry the three-in-one shot M-M-R-II(MMR) and ProQuad (MMRV - combined with Varicella Virus Vaccine Live). 1st dose between 12-15 months with the booster after 4 years of age.