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MMR Vaccine for Adults

The MMR vaccine protects against three diseases – measles, mumps and rubella.

Measles

Measles is a very contagious disease that can be serious or even fatal for small children. It is still a common disease in many parts of the world,including areas in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Around the world, about 20 million people get measles every year and approximately 146,000 die. In the U.S., most of the recent measles outbreaks have been a result of unvaccinated U.S. travelers bringing the disease back with them into the country.

Click here to learn more about measles.

Mumps

Mumps is a contagious disease, which is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing, and through close contact with infected people. Mumps is still a common disease in many countries, particularly because not all countries use the mumps vaccine. Travelers have a high risk of mumps in many countries of the world, including the United Kingdom, which has had several outbreaks since 2004, and Japan, which does not routinely vaccinate against mumps. The U.S. has also had a number of mumps outbreaks over the last few years.

Click here to learn more about mumps.

Rubella

Rubella, also called German measles, is a contagious disease spread through coughing and sneezing. While the disease is usually mild in children and adults, rubella can be very dangerous for pregnant women and their babies. Rubella has been eliminated in the U.S.; however, travelers going to other countries are at risk for the disease. Since rubella infections without symptoms are common, travelers may be unaware that they have been in contact with an infected person.

Click here to learn more about rubella.

Recommendations for Travelers

The CDC recommends that all U.S. residents older than 6 months receive MMR vaccine before traveling internationally. Specifically:

  • Infants 6 through 11 months old should receive 1 dose of MMR vaccine before departure. Note that children vaccinated before their first birthday still need a dose of MMR when they are between 12 and 15 months old, and again when they are between 4 and 6 years of age.
  • Children 12 months of age or older should have documentation of 2 doses of MMR vaccine (separated by at least 28 days).
  • Teenagers and adults without evidence of immunity against measles, mumps and rubella should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine.

In order to show evidence of immunity, you should have at least one of the following: written documentation of adequate vaccination, laboratory evidence of immunity, laboratory confirmation of measles. People born in the United States before 1957 are considered to be immune from measles.

Click here to view the CDC’s recommended immunization schedules for children, adolescents and adults.

Visit the CDC’s Travelers Health website to learn more about the diseases you need to protect yourself against based on the type of traveler you are and your travel destination.

Additional Resources