Description: The MMR titer test is a test that provides evidence of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella from a routine series of vaccinations. These results are commonly used for students going into higher education, or for international travelers.
Also Known As: MMR Panel, Rubeola Test, Measles Virus Test, Measles Titer Test, Mumps Virus Test, Mumps Antibody test, Mumps Titer Test, German Measles test, 3 Day Measles Test, Three Day Measles Test, Rubella Titer Test, MMR Immune Status Test, Measles Mumps Rubella Test
Collection Method: Blood draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
When is an MMR Titer test ordered?
An IgG antibody test for measles, mumps, and rubella may be conducted if a health care provider wants to see if a patient is immune to the viruses, either from a past infection or vaccination.
When a person has measles-like signs and symptoms, or has been exposed to someone who has the virus and now has a fever and some symptoms that could be attributable to measles, IgM and IgG antibody testing may be requested. These tests are usually ordered early in the infection's progress.
Measles symptoms usually appear 7 to 18 days after exposure and includes one or more of the following:
- A rash on the face that progresses to the rest of the body
- Fever that is very high
- Coughing that is dry
- Itchy, red, watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
- A stuffy nose
- Throat irritation
- Inside the mouth, there are tiny white dots
When a person has mumps-like signs and symptoms, or has been exposed to someone who has the virus and now has a fever and some symptoms that could be attributable to mumps, IgM and IgG antibody testing may be requested. These tests are usually ordered early in the infection's progress.
Mumps signs and symptoms appear after a 2 to 3 week incubation period and are commonly mistaken for flu symptoms, such as:
- Muscle aches
These are followed by parotitis, which is a swelling of the salivary glands beneath one or both ears.
When a woman is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, an IgG rubella test is ordered. It is required anytime a check for rubella immunity is required. When a pregnant woman exhibits signs and symptoms that could indicate a rubella infection, IgM and IgG rubella tests may be conducted.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms:
- A pink rash that starts on the face and extends downhill to the body, legs, and arms; once the rash goes to the body, it may disappear from the face.
- A stuffy or runny nose
- Eyes that be red or inflamed
- Joints that hurt
- Lymph nodes swollen
A health practitioner will need to request the tests to confirm the diagnosis because numerous illnesses can cause identical symptoms.
IgM and IgG tests may be ordered for a newborn if the mother was diagnosed with rubella during pregnancy and/or if the newborn is born with congenital rubella syndrome-related birth abnormalities such as hearing loss, heart defects, or clouded lens of the eyes.
Because antibodies to rubella take time to form after infection, the tests may be repeated after day 5 of sickness onset and 7-21 days following the initial samples to examine if antibody levels have become detectable and to see if they are rising or dropping over time.
This test is still necessary for women in some states as part of the blood testing required to acquire a marriage license.
When numerous persons have been exposed and show the signs and symptoms indicated above, testing may be required during a suspected or confirmed outbreak.
What does an MMR Titer blood test check for?
The viruses that cause measles and mumps belong to the Paramyxoviridae family. They both induce infections that normally go away within a few days, but in rare situations, they might lead to significant problems. Both can be avoided by being vaccinated. Antibodies developed in response to infection may be detected in the blood during measles and mumps testing. In addition, employing culture or a molecular approach such as polymerase chain reaction, the virus or its genetic material can be detected directly in a sample. These techniques can be used to a wide range of samples.
The number of instances of measles and mumps infections in the United States has dropped from several hundred thousand to a few hundred per year. Comprehensive measles and mumps immunization campaigns are to blame for the declines. While vaccines exist for each virus, combination vaccines, such as MMR, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella all at once, are commonly used. In recent years, the majority of new cases in the United States have occurred in rare outbreaks, mostly among persons who have not been vaccinated, particularly those who have gone to places of the world where measles or mumps are more common.
Rubella, or "the German measles," is spread by respiratory secretions. After a one to two week incubation period, the virus damages cells in the lungs and the back of the throat, resulting in symptoms like a high fever, dry cough, red eyes, light sensitivity, a runny nose, sore throat, tiny white spots inside the mouth, and a rash that starts on the face and moves down the body to the trunk and legs.
The majority of patients recover in a few weeks, but up to 20% of them experience consequences such as ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, or, in rare cases, encephalitis or blindness. People who are malnourished, deficient in vitamin A, or have weakened immune systems are more likely to be affected. Women who are pregnant and infected with measles are more likely to have a miscarriage or go into labor prematurely.
Vaccination has greatly reduced the number of persons infected with measles in the United States and many other countries of the world, but the World Health Organization still considers measles to be a top cause of mortality in children under the age of five. Measles killed roughly 145,700 individuals worldwide in 2013, according to their estimates, the majority of whom were youngsters under the age of five.
The outcome of the immunization campaign In the United States, endemic measles was declared eradicated in 2000. Small outbreaks, however, continue to occur on a yearly basis. The majority of cases occur in people who are either unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown, and most outbreaks are linked to travel to locations where measles outbreaks are happening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 911 cases of measles were reported from 63 outbreaks between 2001 and 2011. With almost 600 cases recorded in 2014, the United States experienced the greatest number of measles cases in 20 years. Many were linked to visitors who had visited the Philippines, where there had been an unusually significant outbreak of over 50,000 cases.
The CDC, as well as the medical communities in the United States and around the world, remain worried and watchful. Measles is still endemic in many parts of the world, there is always the possibility of travelers spreading the disease, and small percentages of the population remain unvaccinated.
Mumps is a viral infection spread through saliva or respiratory secretions. An infected person often gets flu-like symptoms such as a headache, muscle aches, and fever after a 2 to 3 week incubation period, followed by parotitis. Mumps is usually a mild, self-limiting condition, but some patients can develop problems like temporary or permanent deafness, testicular or ovarian inflammation, pancreatitis, meningitis, or encephalitis.
Mumps, a milder condition than measles, is no longer as frequent as it once was, although it is still endemic in many regions of the world. Mumps cases in the United States range from 200 to 2,000 every year, according to the CDC. Outbreaks can happen in places where people interact frequently, such as classrooms, sports teams, or college dorms. Several tiny outbreaks occurred on college campuses in California, Maryland, and Virginia between 2011 and 2013, for example, although their spread was limited.
The rubella test detects antibodies in the blood that form as a result of a rubella infection or immunization. Rubella testing can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Ascertain that you are protected against the rubella virus.
- Find out if you've had an infection recently or in the past.
- Determine who has not been exposed to the virus and who has not received a vaccine.
- Check to see if all pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant have enough rubella antibodies to prevent infection.
Rubella is a viral infection that normally causes a slight fever and rash that lasts two to three days. The infection normally goes away on its own. Rubella, on the other hand, can cause major difficulties in the developing infant if a pregnant woman acquires it for the first time during the first three months of her pregnancy.
A rubella test may be ordered for anyone, pregnant or not, who is experiencing symptoms that a doctor believes are caused by a rubella infection. It may also be ordered for a newborn who is suspected of contracting rubella during pregnancy or who has congenital birth abnormalities that a doctor suspects are caused by the illness.
IgM and IgG antibodies are the two types of rubella antibodies that lab tests can detect:
The IgM rubella antibody is the first to develop in the blood following exposure. Except in an infected infant, where it may be observed for several months to a year, the level of this protein rises and peaks in the blood within about 7 to 10 days after infection and then tapers off over the next few weeks.
The IgG rubella antibody takes a little longer to surface than the IgM, but once it does, it stays in the bloodstream for the rest of the patient's life, protecting them from re-infection. IgM rubella antibodies in the blood indicate a recent infection, whereas IgG antibodies can indicate a current or past rubella infection, or that a rubella vaccine was given and is giving appropriate protection.
The IgM rubella test is the gold standard for a fast rubella laboratory diagnosis. The presence of an increase in IgG rubella in blood samples taken when a person is sick and later as they recover can be used to confirm infection. Antibody testing differ between laboratories, and the state health agency can advise on available laboratory services and recommended tests.
Lab tests often ordered with an MMR Titer test:
- Varicella Zoster Virus
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
Conditions where an MMR Titer test is recommened:
- Travelers’ Diseases
How does my health care provider use an MMR Titer test?
Antibody tests for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella can be used to:
- Confirm if a person is virus-free due to previous infections or vaccinations.
- Diagnosis of a measles, mumps, or rubella outbreak
- In order to protect the public's health, epidemics must be detected, monitored, and tracked.
Antibody testing can be used to confirm immunity, identify a current infection, or follow outbreaks. Antibodies to the measles, mumps and rubella viruses are viral-specific proteins produced by the immune system in response to infection with the virus or immunization. IgM and IgG antibodies are the two types of antibodies generated. IgM antibodies are the first to emerge in the blood after exposure or immunization. IgM antibody levels rise over several days to a peak, then gradually decline over the next few weeks. IgG antibodies take a little longer to develop, but once they do, they remain positive for the rest of your life, protecting you from re-infection. By comparing the levels of antibody in two blood samples taken weeks apart, it is sometimes possible to distinguish between an active and past infection.
What do my MMR test results mean?
When IgM antibodies to measles, mumps, or rubella are present in someone who hasn't been vaccinated recently, it's likely that they have a current measles, mumps, or rubella infection. When both IgM and IgG antibodies are present, or there is a fourfold increase in concentrations between acute and convalescent IgG antibody testing, it is likely that the person is now infected or has recently been infected with measles, mumps, or rubella.
When a person who has been vaccinated and/or is not currently ill possesses measles, mumps, and rubella IgG antibodies, that individual is protected from infection. A person is not deemed immune to the viruses if they do not have MMR IgG antibodies. This could be due to the fact that the person hasn't been exposed to the viruses, the IgG hasn't had enough time to mature, or the person doesn't have a typical antibody response.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.