Measles, Mumps, and Rubella

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine for Travel

What is Measles, Mumps, and Rubella?

Measles, mumps and rubella are highly contagious viral infections.

Measles primarily affects children but can occur in people of any age who are not immune. Measles can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and even death, particularly in young children and individuals with weakened immune systems. 

Mumps is spread through direct contact with salivary or respiratory droplets and best known for the puffy cheeks and tender, swollen jaw it causes. This is due to swollen salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, often referred to as parotitis.

Rubella usually causes a mild illness for most people, that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Rubella can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is infected while pregnant.

How to Prevent Measles, Mumps, and Rubella?

Vaccination is the most effective method to prevent measles, mumps and rubella. The MMR vaccine is routinely administered to infants and young children as part of the recommended immunization schedule. Additional precautions include practicing proper hand hygiene by washing thoroughly with soap and water, avoiding travel to areas with outbreaks, and avoid close contact with infected individuals.

Is Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine Necessary?

Vaccination is considered the best prevention against measles, mumps and rubella. The MMR vaccine is highly effective and provides long-lasting immunity to prevent measles. mumps and rubella infections and its associated complications. If you are traveling, especially to areas with known or potential outbreaks, it is generally recommended to ensure that your immunizations are up to date.

Currently, measles is making a comeback with many localized outbreaks, particularly in rural and remote countries in Africa. You may benefit from a MMR booster, which your Rockdoc Travel Medicine Professional may recommend based on your medical history, vaccination records, and itinerary.

We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the provided information, however, it is not feasible for us to update daily. Please book a virtual consultation with one of our Travel Medicine Professionals for current, personalized advice and answers to any questions you may have.

Are Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Serious Diseases?

Measles can cause mild to more serious problems:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis (“pink eye” – red, watery eyes)

Complications can include:

  • Ear infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Brain damage
  • Death

Mumps symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen salivary glands

Complications can include:

  • Swelling of testicles or ovaries
  • Deafness
  • Encephalitis / Meningitis – inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord
  • Rarely, death

Rubella symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Red, itchy eyes

If a woman gets rubella while pregnant:

  • Potential miscarriage
  • Baby could be born with serious birth defects

Available travel vaccinations and medications

We offer the following travel vaccinations and medications:

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