Measles, Mumps & Rubella

General Information

Students who are in group settings like residence halls are at higher risk for communicable diseases. For this reason, college students should have received two (2) doses of  the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

These illnesses are relatively rare in the U.S. but prior to the vaccine, they caused serious illness, lifelong disabilities and even death. The last big rubella academic in the U.S. was in 1964 and resulted in about 25,000 children with serious complications such as heart defects, deafness, blindness, or mental retardation because their mothers had the disease during pregnancy.

Routine childhood immunizations now protect most individuals but occasional outbreaks erupt and individuals who are not fully immunized are at risk, either in childhood or as adults. Further, they can expose pregnant women and fetuses to these illness. Are you protected?

If you are unvaccinated or unsure of your vaccination status the Measles, Mumps, & Rubella (MMR) vaccine is strongly encouraged. Contact your healthcare provider or local health department about getting vaccinated. 

Measles signs and symptoms appear around 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Signs and symptoms of measles typically include:

  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Sore Throat
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek.
  • A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another.


The measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. A single dose of measles vaccine protects about 95 percent of children, but after two doses, almost 100 percent are immune. You cannot get measles from the vaccine. It is effective within 72 hours of exposure to prevent illness. In addition, immune globulin treatment is effective within six days of exposure for high-risk individuals. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if immune globulin is right for you and if it is available.

High-risk individuals include those who are unvaccinated or unsure about vaccination status, pregnant women and those who are immune-compromised (have a weakened immune system due to illness and diseases like HIV, malnutrition and/or medications).


The Washtenaw County Health Department offers vaccination by appointment (734-544-6700).

If you have Medicaid or Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, or are uninsured or under-insured, and do not have proof of being vaccinated or having measles in the past, there will be no cost to you for the MMR vaccine. Please bring your insurance card. If you have another form of private insurance, contact your healthcase provider for the vaccine.