Measles is a highly infectious viral illness. The illness causes a range of symptoms including fever, coughing and distinctive red-brown spots. Symptoms of measles appear 9-11 days after the infection begins, and last up to 14 days. The condition is most infectious after the first symptoms have appeared and before the rash has developed.
Mumps is a contagious viral infection most recognisable by the painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears. Mumps usually passes without causing serious damage to a person's health. Serious complications are rare, although it can cause deafness and meningitis. Other general symptoms often develop a few days before the glands swell, including: headache, joint pain, feeling sick, dry mouth, mild abdominal pain, feeling tired, loss of appetite, and a high temperature of 38C or above.
Rubella (German measles) is a mild disease caused by the rubella virus. Symptoms include fever and a distinctive red/pink rash. The rubella virus is passed on through droplets in the air from coughs and sneezes. Rubella is about as infectious as flu, but if caught by pregnant women it can cause serious harm to the unborn baby. This is called congenital rubella syndrome. In the first three months of pregnancy this can cause eye problems, deafness, heart abnormalities and brain damage in the unborn baby.
What to do
You can catch measles, mumps or rubella through direct contact with an infected person, or through the air when they cough or sneeze. The droplets can also survive and remain contagious on surfaces for a few hours.
If you're worried that you may have the symptoms of measles or mumps, please contact your GP - it's best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery may need to make arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. If you're aware of any students who may be concerned or who are displaying the symptoms of measles or mumps, please refer them to the Student Medical Centre (01202 965378) or their local GP.
You can find our more information from the NHS website or read the NHS leaflets about measles or mumps and the MMR vaccine.
The most effective way of preventing measles and mumps is the MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella), which also provides protection against rubella. The success of the MMR vaccine means that, in the UK, cases of measles and mumps are rare. If you're aged 15-25 years you may have missed out on the MMR vaccine when you were younger. If you've not already received the MMR vaccinations contact the Student Medical Centre or your own GP to arrange a vaccination as soon as possible.