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Mumps and Measles


Measles is a serious and highly contagious viral disease which causes fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes, followed by a rash.


Measles is caused by infection with the rubeola virus, a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. The virus lives in the mucus of the nose and throat of an infected child or adult. The infected person is contagious for four days before the rash appears, and continues so for about four to five days afterwards.


You can become infected through:

  • Physical contact with an infected person.

  • Being nearby infected people if they cough or sneeze.

  • Touching a surface that has infected droplets of mucus (the virus remains active for two hours) and then putting your fingers into your mouth, rubbing your nose or eyes.


If the virus infects the lungs it can sometimes lead to dangerous complications such as pneumonia.  Measles in older children can lead to inflammation of the brain, calledencephalitis, which can cause seizures and brain damage.


Measles can cause:


  • ear infections (one in 20)

  • respiratory problems (one in 25)

  • convulsions (one in 200)

  • meningitis (one in 1,000)


There is no specific measles treatment. If there are no complications the doctor will recommend plenty of rest and normal measures to control the fever and prevent dehydration (drink fluids). Symptoms will usually go away within 7 to 10 days.


While children are contagious they should be kept away from school and should not return to activities that involve human interaction. Non-immunized people who have never had measles should be kept out of the house.

Protection Againsst Measles and Mumps

Please contact your doctor if you think that your child has measles, mumps or chicken pox.


The MMR vaccine protects your child against measles, mumps and rubella. It is given to children at 13 months and again as a booster before they go to school.



Mumps is caused by a virus and makes you feel generally unwell.


Symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, including:


  • fatigue

  • body aches

  • headache

  • loss of appetite

  • low-grade fever


A high fever (up to 103 °F) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over the next few days. The glands may not all swell at once.  More commonly, they swell and become painful periodically. You are most contagious from the time you are exposed to the mumps virus until your parotid glands swell.


 Symptoms last for up to 10 days and complications can occur.


Mumps can cause:

  • deafness - usually with partial or complete recovery (one in 25)

  • swollen, painful testicles in older boys and men (one in 5)

  • miscarriage in pregnant women

  • meningitis – before the introduction of the MMR vaccine, mumps was the biggest cause of viral meningitis in children

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