Website Editor’s Note: This post is intended to provide a basic overview of measles, mumps and rubella.
It has been intentionally written in simple, non- technical English.
(If you are bi-lingual and would be interested in volunteering to translate the information on this page into another language, please contact No Forced vaccines via our contact form at this link http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/contact/ )
Links at the end of the article provide access to more detailed information, including some information suitable for health professionals.
Please note that the information below is not intended to replace a consultation with a health professional to discussion options for the prevention or treatment of these infections.
Q: What are measles, mumps and rubella?
A: They are illnesses that are caused by viruses.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: Measles is an illness that starts with a cough and runny nose and sore eyes and a fever. Then comes a red rash which gradually fades. It is generally a mild to moderately serious illness in children who are usually healthy.
Mumps is an illness with a fever and swollen face (which is due to swollen salivary glands). A headache is another common symptom. Mumps is generally a mild illness in children who are usually healthy.
Rubella is an illness with a red rash and a fever. Rubella is usually a mild illness in in children who are usually healthy.
It is important for children to have good care while they have measles, mumps and rubella. This can help to prevent complications, such as ear infections, pneumonia or meningitis or brain inflammation (encephalitis). In NZ, where children are generally well nourished and healthy the risk of death or disability from measles, mumps or rubella for children is very low.
However for children who have a serious illness (such as cancer) these illnesses, especially measles, can be very serious and may cause life-threatening complications and the risk of death is substantially higher. (For this reason, these children should be under the care of a specialist doctor who should be advised if exposure to these infections is known or suspected.)
Q: Is there a vaccine available in NZ for measles, mumps and rubella?
A: Yes, in NZ vaccination with the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine) can be used to try to prevent these illnesses. This vaccine contains live (weakened) measles, mumps and rubella vaccines and is given by injection. It is free to children in NZ (because it is taxpayer subsidised.)
After an MMR vaccination, many children experience side effects. These side effects can include fever, rash, and cough. More serious side effects may include sore joints, seizures, meningitis and paralysis. (More information on side effects in English may be found at this link: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/p/Priorixvac.pdf or http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/m/MMRIIinj.pdf )
If you choose to be vaccinated (or for your child to be vaccinated) you may like to first read the information in the section called “Choosing to Vaccinate” at the brochure that may be downloaded from this link: http://wavesnz.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/WAVESnz-Brochure-PRINT.pdf
A single measles vaccine is not available at present in NZ.
Single rubella and single mumps vaccines are not available in NZ either.
Q: Is there an alternative to MMR vaccination?
A: Some parents choose not to vaccinate their children with MMR vaccine. Some of these parents expect that their children will be develop measles, mumps and rubella some time in their childhood and thereafter become immune to these illnesses prior to adulthood.
Some of these parents who choose not to vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccine choose “homoeopathic immunisation” (also known as “homoeoprophylaxis” or homeoprophylaxis) as an option to try to prevent their child from developing measles, mumps or rubella. Homoeoprophylaxis is available in tablets or drops from some practitioners of homoeopathy. Homoeopathic immunisation may cause a fever. (An introduction to homoeoprophylaxis may be read at this link: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/an-introduction-to-homeoprophylaxis/)
Q: If I choose not to use vaccination or homoeopathic immunisation (or vaccination or homoeopathic immunisation does not prevent these diseases) are there treatments for measles, mumps and rubella?
A: Yes. Illnesses caused by viruses, like measles, mumps and rubella can be treated using vitamin C. A health professional can advise on an appropriate dosage depending on a child or adult’s weight.
If necessary, vitamin C may be given by injection to treat complications of these infections (such as pneumonia or viral meningitis or encephalitis).
Vitamin D (from sunshine and/or supplements) helps the body fight illnesses that are caused by viruses. A health professional can advise on an appropriate dosage for a vitamin D supplement as too much vitamin D is toxic.
For measles, vitamin A is very important and this can be found in some foods including butter, eggs, whole milk and beef liver. Vitamin A supplements can be given to children who have the measles. A health professional can advise on appropriate dosages as too much vitamin A is toxic. (Lack of vitamin A during a measles infection can cause temporary blindness and if the deficiency is not corrected, this blindness can become permanent.)
Other treatments include herbal medicine and/or homoeopathic medicines.
A health professional such as a naturopath or a homoeopath can advise which remedies are suitable.
When a children has a fever it is important to ensure that they have plenty of fluids such as diluted fruit juice, diluted coconut water, herbal teas, water and/or home made chicken soup to make sure that they do not get dehydrated.
In most cases, it is best not to give children who have a fever medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. This is because lowering a fever may prolong the illness. (Your child’s doctor will be able to advise if you should give one these medications to your child.)
Please note that if you or your child has one of these illnesses and you would like the advice or assistance of a doctor or other health professional, please phone ahead before you go to your local medical centre, health clinic or hospital so that staff can ensure that you can be isolated from pregnant women or other people for whom measles, mumps or rubella may pose a serious health risk.
Q: What is autism and can the MMR vaccine cause autism?
A: Autism is a serious disorder in which affected people have difficulties with communication and behaviour. Autism may develop because of brain damage that occurs before birth or regressive autism may develop in children who were developing normally in the second year of life.
Research from the USA, presented in the film Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe shows that children who have MMR vaccination at an early age (age 12-18 months) were more likely to develop regressive autism than children who were not vaccinated with MMR until they were three years old. (The data on which the film is based may be accessed through the film’s website at this link: http://vaxxedthemovie.com/download-the-cdc-autism-mmr-files-released-by-dr-william-thompson/)
NB: If you are interested in seeing this film, the link for information about NZ screenings is https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/d/new-zealand/vaxxed/
Q: Is there an advantage to being sick with measles, mumps and rubella in childhood?
A: Yes. Measles, mumps and rubella are generally milder illnesses in children than they are in adults.
After someone has had measles, mumps and rubella, they will almost never get this illnesses again.
It is best for children to have rubella before puberty because older girls and women are more likely to get sore joints during a rubella infection than are young children. Also, rubella can be dangerous during pregnancy. If a pregnant mother develops rubella, especially early in the pregnancy, the baby may be born with problems such as brain damage or birth defects. A rubella infection during childhood should ensure that a woman is immune during her adult life and therefore not vulnerable to developing the illness during any pregnancy.
Measles infection during pregnancy can also cause problems including miscarriage or premature labour. For this reason, contracting the illness in childhood and thereafter having natural immunity can be considered desirable.
A mother who has had a natural measles infection in childhood should also have a good level of antibodies to pass to her developing baby via the placenta during pregnancy. These antibodies can help to protect the baby from measles infection in infancy when the disease can be more serious than in older children. (If a mother has had a natural measles infection, her breast milk can also be another source of antibodies for her baby.)
Mumps is usually a mild illness in children but in women mumps can cause swelling of the ovaries and in men, mumps can cause swelling of the testicles. For these reasons, it can be considered desirable to have this infection in childhood, before puberty.
Links to further information on measles, mumps and rubella are below:
- An article that discusses the risk of measles and MMR vaccination may be read at this link: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/vaccination/whats-worse-measles-or-the-vaccine/ (This article discusses complications of measles, measles treatments and the MMR vaccine.)
The NZ Ministry of Health’s “Immunisation Handbook” has sections on measles, mumps and rubella which may be read at the links below:
- Rubella: (Ministry of Health Immunisation Handbook): http://immunisation.book.health.govt.nz/18+Rubella
- Mumps (Ministry of Health Immunisation Handbook): http://immunisation.book.health.govt.nz/13+Mumps
- Measles (Ministry of Health Immunisation Handbook): http://immunisation.book.health.govt.nz/11+Measles
- Datasheets for MMR vaccines on the NZ market: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/p/Priorixvac.pdf http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/m/MMRIIinj.pd
- Homeoprophylaxis (“Homeopathic immunisation”) http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/an-introduction-to-homeoprophylaxis/
- Vitamin A (including information on food sources)
- Vitamin D (including information on food sources)
- Vitamin C:
Measles: Measles is listed in the excellent book Curing the Incurable by Thomas Levy, MD (ISBN 1-4010-6963-0 ) as being “Curable and Preventable” with vitamin C. This book includes some of Dr. Klenner’s case histories, including that of an uneventful recovery of a child suffering from measles encephalitis (inflammation of the brain – which according to the NZ Ministry of Health occurs in one in 1000 people who get measles.) Prompt treatment of encephalitis, regardless of the cause is important since the condition may result in death or survivors may be brain damaged.
Mumps: This childhood illness is also listed as being “Curable and Preventable” with vitamin C in Curing the Incurable by Thomas Levy, MD (ISBN 1-4010-6963-0 ).
The book cites a report by Dr. Klenner in which 33 out of 33 cases of mumps responded promptly to vitamin C injections with fever resolved in 24 hours and pain gone by 36 hours, including two whose mumps were complicated with orchitis (inflammation of the testicles), one of whom was a 23 year old man whose testicles were reported to be have swollen to the size of tennis balls with severe pain.
An article that gives an overview of using vitamin C to treat infections (and some other medical problems) may be accessed at this link: http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1999/articles/1999-v14n03-p143.shtml
Please note that the information on this website is for educational purposes. It not intended to replace a consultation with your doctor or other health professional who can give personalised advice about your or your child’s healthcare.