Measles: What you need to know
Written by Sam
20th June, 2017
Measles is a serious viral illness. It spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. In rare cases, it can be deadly. The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine protects against measles, as well as mumps and rubella (German measles). Measles (including suspected cases) is a legally notifiable disease in the UK; this is where doctors notify the local health protection team of a case of measles.
Since the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988, it's rare for children in the UK to develop these serious conditions. However, outbreaks happen and cases of measles in particular have been rising in recent years, so it's important to make sure your children and yourself are up-to-date with MMR vaccination.
How the MMR vaccine works
- The MMR vaccine contains weakened versions of live measles, mumps and rubella viruses.
- The vaccine works by triggering the immune system to produce antibodies against measles, mumps and rubella.
- If you or your child then comes into contact with one of the diseases, the immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight it.
- It's not possible for people who have recently had the vaccine to infect other people.
- The MMR vaccine given in the UK is known under the brand names Priorix or MMRVAXPRO.
Information on MMR vaccination is available at the NHS Direct website.
We've included some information from NHS Direct in this infographic below.