Immunization Schedule, Adults (cont.)
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Measles: In the past, measles was a common childhood disease. It was a major worldwide cause of illness and death. Measles is a viral infection transmitted through the air. Symptoms similar to upper respiratory infections (nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat) and high fevers lasting five to seven days mark the initial stage. Tiny white spots appear on the inside of the cheeks two days before the appearance of a rash. The rash first appears on the face and behind the ears. It then spreads to the trunk, followed by the extremities, including the palms and soles. It fades in the order of appearance. Complications include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), seizures, and death.
Mumps: Mumps is caused by the mumps virus. Usual symptoms include fever, weakness, and body aches. The most distinctive feature of mumps is swelling of one or both parotid glands (salivary glands). The illness generally runs its course without complications, but meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) may appear in some cases. Although swelling of the testicles may occur in some males, sterility is rare. Some cases will suffer deafness in one ear.
Rubella: Rubella is a viral disease caused by inhalation of virus-containing droplets in the air. It is characterized by rash, fever, and painful swollen lymph nodes. There may be a variety of other symptoms. The most devastating complication is infection of the fetus during the first trimester of pregnancy. This usually leads to development of congenital rubella. Exposed babies can later develop a variety of disorders such as cataracts at a young age, glaucoma, hearing loss, retardation, and heart defects. Pregnant women may also have an increased rate of miscarriage. In 1967, the licensing of the vaccine dramatically decreased the number of reported cases.
Who gets the vaccine: The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines contain live viruses. They are usually combined into a single vaccine (MMR) given as a first dose to children aged 12-15 months; the second dose is given prior to kindergarten (or the first opportunity thereafter). In adults, the MMR vaccine is recommended for these groups:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/13/2014
Mai Kim Lai, MD
Douglas C Finefrock, DO
Gregory L Walker, MD, FACEP, Ped EM
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