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Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Immunity Profile Test Popular

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About Our Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Immunity Profile Test

Also known as the MMR titer test, this blood test panel is used to confirm if you are immune against measles, mumps, and rubella, either due to previous infection or vaccination. This group of tests looks for specific IgG antibodies to these diseases, which your body produces after contracting the viruses or receiving the vaccines. These antibodies remain in the body for life, protecting the body against reinfection by the same virus. For compliance and safety, certain schools, workplaces, and other entities require proof of MMR immunity. 

What Are Measles, Mumps, and Rubella?

Measles, mumps, and rubella are diseases caused by viruses that are quite contagious through coughing and sneezing. 

  • Measles is a disease caused by the rubeola virus. It’s commonly associated with a rash of red spots which spread from the head to the rest of the body. Common complications include ear infections or diarrhea, but measles can be serious and can sometimes cause pneumonia or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). 
  • Mumps is a disease caused by the paramyxovirus. It’s commonly associated with puffy cheeks and swelling and pain in one or both sides of the jaw due to swollen salivary glands. While many people may experience mild or no symptoms, complications can sometimes occur, especially in adults. 
  • Rubella is a disease caused by rubella virus. Many people who get rubella don’t know they’re infected because the disease is often mild. When present, the most common sign is a red rash that spreads across the body. Having rubella while pregnant can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or severe and debilitating birth defects for the baby such as heart problems, eye problems, and intellectual disabilities.

Widespread vaccination has helped nearly eliminate measles, rubella, and mumps. However, there have been several measles and mumps outbreaks in recent years, and a small number of rubella cases occur each year.

Common Reasons for Testing

You may need this test if you:

  • Are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant
  • Are a college student or employee, to prove immunity
  • Are unsure if you’ve been previously vaccinated or infected, to verify past infection and confirm your immunity status

What are Signs and Symptoms of Infection?

Signs of measles include:

  • A characteristic rash of red spots that spread from the face and down to the rest of the body
  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • White spots on the inside of the cheek—also called Koplik’s spots

Signs of mumps include: 

  • Pain and swelling in the cheek or jaw area due to swollen salivary glands
  • Trouble chewing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite 

Some people who get mumps may have mild, cold-like symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Signs of rubella include: 

  • No symptoms
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Red, inflamed eyes
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes
  • Nerve inflammation
  • A rash that starts on the face and spreads to other parts of the body
  • Aching joints

Rubella is often a mild illness, and many people have few or no noticeable symptoms. 

Who Is at Risk for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella?

The MMR vaccine has helped dramatically reduce cases of measles, mumps, and rubella in the United States. However, these diseases remain a problem in other countries, so travelers to and from these countries may be exposed to these diseases and can bring them into the U.S. Young children, pregnant women who have not been vaccinated, and people with compromised immune systems are at great risk for severe illness and complications. 

To protect against the virus and prevent/limit outbreaks, the CDC recommends getting the MMR vaccine. 

What Do Test Results Mean?

A positive result suggests previous exposure to the virus through infection or vaccination, implying immunity unless a current infection is suspected. A negative result indicates no prior exposure to the viruses and non-immunity, or it may occur if you were tested too soon after being exposed to the virus, before the appearance of detectable antibodies. The MMR Immunity Profile test does not diagnose a current infection of measles, mumps, or rubella. You should talk to your healthcare provider about what your test results mean for you.

Medically Reviewed by: 2019-05-14

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