Measles, Mumps and Rubella

Measles, mumps and rubella are three illnesses that many of us consider problems of the past.

With the rise of the MMR vaccine, the number of annual cases of measles in the United States has fallen dramatically. The vaccine has also drastically reduced the number of measles-related deaths worldwide.

In 1980, 2.6 million people died from measles; in 2014, that number had fallen to 73,000.

Similarly, the MMR vaccine has decreased instances of mumps by more than 90 percent. For rubella, the vaccine has all but eliminated it. No endemic case of rubella has been reported in the United States since 2009.

However, even with these great developments in vaccinations, cases of these illnesses still occur. If you or a loved one has the misfortune of being diagnosed with measles, mumps or rubella, it’s important to have a plan in place for seeking treatment early on.

It’s also important to be educated about the specifics of these illnesses so you notice the unique symptoms of each.

Measles

Measles is caused by a virus and is spread through direct contact or airborne pathogens.

In fact, before the measles vaccination was introduced in 1963, nearly 3 million measles-related deaths were reported each year. The disease remains one of the leading causes of death in children around the world.

Measles presents a few characteristic symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Small, white bumps inside cheeks
  • Rash
  • Severe Diarrhea
  • Blindness
  • Brain Swelling
  • Death

Even with the advent of the MMR vaccine, measles remains a deadly disease that especially affects individuals with weakened or compromised immune systems.

Mumps

Similar to the measles, mumps is caused by a virus and is spread through direct, human-to-human contact and airborne pathogens.

While less serious than measles, mumps can still cause serious complications, especially for adults who contract the virus.

Symptoms of mumps include:

  • Headache
  • Malaise
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the parotid gland
  • Meningitis
  • Orchitis
  • Deafness
  • Encephalitis
  • Permanent neurological damage

The MMR vaccine has drastically reduced the prevalence of mumps, but the illness still occurs in various parts of the world.

Rubella

Rubella is a viral illness that typically affects children and is spread through airborne droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Its effects are typically mild and disappear within a few weeks.

In a pregnant woman, however, rubella can cause severe birth defects or even fetal death. Congenital rubella syndrome is a serious condition that can cause affected infants to be born with hearing impairment, heart defects, eye issues, and autism. Following widespread use of the MMR vaccine, the number of children born with CRS has decreased dramatically.

Vaccination is the best defense against measles, mumps and rubella. However, if you suspect that you’ve contracted the measles, mumps or rubella virus, Ocala Infectious Disease and Wound Care can provide the care and treatment you need to fully recover. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule your appointment.