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What Are Measles, Mumps, and Rubella?  

Measles is a viral infection that can cause rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.

Mumps is a viral infection that can result in fever, headache, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, infection of the brain and spinal cord covering, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and sterility.

Rubella is a viral infection that can can result in a rash, mild fever, or arthritis . Pregnant women who have rubella are at increased risk for miscarriage . Their babies may be born with severe birth defects.

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What Is the Measles, Mumps, RubellaVaccine?  

The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine consists of 3 live viruses made in chicken embryo cells. The viruses found in the vaccine have been made harmless during the manufacturing process.

The vaccine is given under the skin.

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Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?  

All children with few exceptions should receive the vaccine two times:

  • 12-15 months
  • 4-6 years (school entry)—can be given earlier, but the two doses must be separated by at least four weeks

The vaccine can also be given to infants younger than 12 months who will be traveling internationally. These infants should also get the two routine shots at ages 12-15 months and 4-6 years.

Adults born after 1956 who have not been previously vaccinated may need at least one dose. Talk with your doctor if you were not previously vaccinated.

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What Are the Risks Associated With the MMR Vaccine?  

The majority of people who get the vaccine do not have any side effects. The most common side effects are a fever and a rash 1-2 weeks after vaccination. Redness and swelling at the injection site may occur. Rare complications include:

  • Severe, life-threatening allergic reaction— anaphylaxis
  • Deafness
  • Seizures—in children inclined to have feb