Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)logo


The symptoms of measles usually begin to develop about 7-11 days after the person first becomes infected.

The first symptoms are normally similar to those of a bad cold:

  • fever
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • a cough

A few days later a bright red, blotchy rash breaks out on the forehead, face and neck. Within a few days the rash spreads to the body, arms and legs, by which time the rash will begin to fade from the face.

Measles is most infectious from two or three days before the rash appears until eight or ten days after that date. Though the rash is very dramatic, measles is accompanied by more upsetting symptoms. The whites of the eyes and inside the nose become sore, red and watery. A cough develops and many patients also suffer from earache.

Paracetamol syrup and a simple cough linctus will help. The patient will also find comfort staying away from bright sunlight in a shaded room. If the symptoms are very distressing contact your doctor.


Mumps is an infectious illness caused by a virus. In the 2004-2005 mumps epidemic, most of the people infected with the virus were aged between 15 and 24, but you can catch it at any age.

It is now less common because of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination. It is most easily caught from people with the infection from two to six days before they get swollen glands to about nine days after. It usually takes about 14 to 21 days to develop symptoms after being exposed to the virus (the incubation period).

About one in three children with mumps don’t get any symptoms. At first, the symptoms of mumps are similar to those of flu, and can include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • earache that is made worse by chewing
  • pain on chewing and swallowing
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness and muscle aches

If the pain is severe you should consult your doctor.

Rubella (German Measles)

Symptoms of German measles can include any of the following:

  • Slight fever sometimes accompanied by a runny nose
  • Swollen glands behind the ears and around the neck
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Rash that starts on the face and then spreads to the body. This rash usually lasts for about 3 days and usually covers the body, arms and legs in small pink patches about 2-4mm, and doesn’t itch.

No other symptoms are usually present apart from occasional aching joints. It is infectious from two days before the rash appears, until the rash disappears in about four or five days from that date. The only danger is to unborn babies and, therefore, it is important that all contacts are informed in order that anyone who may be pregnant may contact their doctor.

PLEASE NOTE: Immunisations can prevent this distressing and sometimes even dangerous disease.

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