Measles, Mumps and Rubella
What are Measles, Mumps and Rubella?
- Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that causes more than 150,000 deaths annually around the world. Measles associated symptoms include fever; generalized, blotchy rash; runny nose and white spots in the mouth. Transmission occurs primarily through respiratory droplets and all non-immunized travelers are at high risk of exposure outside of Canada.
- Mumps is an acute viral disease characterized by fever, swelling and tenderness of at least one salivary gland. Travelers’ at risk of infection can be high since many countries do not use the Mumps vaccine routinely.
- Rubella is another acute viral disease that usually affects susceptible individuals of any age. Rubella is prevalent worldwide and the risk of exposure outside the United States is high. Rubella is associated with significant morbidity in adults and high rates of miscarriage and anomalies of congenital Rubella syndrome if contracted in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Risk to Travelers
- All travelers should be up to date with MMR vaccine. Outbreaks have occurred world-wide and any non-immune traveler is at risk. Non-immune adults may qualify for 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccine, depending on their year of birth, previous immunization history, and occupation and/or travel plans.
Risk to Canadians
Outbreaks from Measles and Mumps occur in Canada periodically. MMR is considered a routine immunization and all Canadians are recommended to be up to date with this vaccine.
- Non-immune adults may qualify for 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccine, depending on their year of birth, previous immunization history, and occupation and/or travel plans.
- Children receive two doses of MMR as part of their childhood immunization series. One dose is given at 12 and the second dose at 18 months of age.
- The Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine (MMR) is recommended for all travelers over 12 months of age and each of the two doses should be separated by at least 28 days prior to departing the United States. Travelers who have received the MMR vaccine should avoid pregnancy for one month following immunization.
There are no specific treatments available for these illnesses. Symptoms are treated with pain/fever reducing medication and antibiotics can be given for any resulting secondary infection that may occur.