Immunization for Children - Measles, Mumps, Rubella and the MMR Vaccine
The MMR vaccine is a combination of three live attenuated measles-mumps-rubella viruses. It is called attenuated because the vaccine has been toned down to make it less harmful as the wild strain of the virus. Physicians thought that giving the vaccine as a combination in just one shot rather than administering it to children in three separate shots would be less agonizing to the recipients and more efficient to those who are administering these vaccines.
Following recent concerns on the safety of the MMR vaccine, in particular the claim of some sectors that the vaccine causes autism, the World Health Organization has strongly recommended the use of the MMR vaccine because its safety has been proven through the years and that there is no strong evidence found that the vaccine indeed causes autism among children.
A June 12, 1999 article published in The Lancet reported that after conducting a thorough epidemiological study to investigate whether the MMR vaccine is causing autism among UK children, they found that there is no association between having the MMR shots and the cases of autism among those identified children. Therefore the use of MMR vaccine is continuously given to children to prevent measles, mumps and rubella cases.
CONTRARY TO EARLIER REPORTS THE VACCINE DOES NOT CAUSE AUTISM AMONG CHILDREN.
A child with measles
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. It is spread when a person happens to get in contact with an infected person's body fluid from the nose or mouth.
It manifests flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, cough, fever, red eyes and the rashes that comes out as the infection progresses.
To achieve best results from the measles vaccine, children should be injected twice:
The first shot should be given from one year to one year and 3 months old and the second shot, the booster shot, should be given between 4 to 6 years old.
Doctors and other health workers however, may recommend the giving of vaccination to children younger than 12 months in case of measles, mumps, rubella outbreak.
As of this writing, June 5, 2013, it is reported that measles is still a real threat to the health of communities in the Pacific region, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Every year it is reported that 20 million people die of measles worldwide which poses a threat to unprotected Americans who travel to many parts of the world.
Mumps is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by swollen, painful salivary glands. It is the most common cause of aseptic meningitis among children. Some mumps patients also suffer from pancreatitis.
One of the major causes of deafness among children is acquired sensorineural deafness which happens when a child gets sick with mumps and is not properly treated.
Pregnant women who are infected by the mumps virus during the first trimester of pregnancy face the risk of losing their baby.
The mumps vaccine was introduced in 1968 and has been available through MMR or Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine. In some of both the rich and developing countries, vaccination of MMR to their children has been made part of the National Immunization Program but many third world countries have yet to include this in their own immunization program.
A baby with mumps
Rubella is another highly contagious viral infection caused by the Rubella virus. It can be transmitted to another person through droplets coming from the infected person's breath. The virus can be found in a sick person's skin, feces and urine.
The disease was given its name German measles by German doctors who discovered the disease in the middle of the 18th century.
A baby with rubella rashes
Find out why the MMR vaccine is important for children
© 2012 Zee Mercado
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