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Measles, mumps and rubella

What is the MMR jab?

MMR is the combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. MMR immunisation is the safest way that parents can protect their children against measles, mumps and rubella - diseases that can be serious for babies, young children and their families.
The number of cases of measles isn’t only increasing in young children – older children, teenagers and adults are getting it too. 
To be protected you need to be immunised with MMR vaccine.

Is the vaccination safe?

Some years ago, there were many stories in the media linking MMR with autism. These caused some parents to delay their child's MMR immunisation or not to have it at all resulting in outbreaks of measles.

However, independent experts from around the world have found no credible scientific evidence for such a link and there is now a large amount of evidence showing that there is no link.

Where do I get the vaccination?

If you have children you can speak to your GP about receiving the MMR jab. You can also download the document on the right which outlines the childhood vaccination schedule.


Measles is caused by a very infectious virus. Nearly everyone who catches it will have a high fever, a rash and generally be unwell.
Children often have to spend about five days in bed and could be off school for ten days. Adults are likely to be ill for longer. It is not possible to tell who will be seriously affected by measles.

The complications of measles affect one in every 15 children. These include chest infections, fits, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and brain damage.

In very serious cases, measles kills. In 1987 (the year before the MMR vaccine was introduced in the UK), 86,000 children caught measles and 16 died.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases known. A cough or a sneeze can spread the measles virus over a wide area. Because it's so infectious, the chances are your child will get measles if he or she is not protected.


Mumps is caused by a virus which can lead to fever, headache, and painful, swollen glands in the face, neck and jaw. It can result in permanent deafness, viral meningitis (swelling of the lining of the brain) and encephalitis. Rarely, it causes painful swelling of the testicles in males and the ovaries in females.

Mumps is spread in the same way as measles and is as infectious as flu.


Rubella (German measles) is a disease caused by a virus. In children it is usually mild and can go unnoticed. It causes a short-lived rash, swollen glands and a sore throat.

Rubella is very serious for unborn babies. It can seriously damage their sight, hearing, heart and brain. Rubella infection in the first three months of pregnancy causes damage to the unborn baby in nine out of ten cases. This condition is called congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). In many of the cases, pregnant women caught rubella from their own, or their friends, children.

In the five years before the MMR vaccine was introduced, about 43 babies a year were born in the UK with congenital rubella syndrome.

Rubella is spread in the same way as measles and mumps. It is about as infectious as flu.

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