Advice on measles for children with kidney disease

Measles is a viral infection. It typically starts with a fever, conjunctivitis and cough/cold symptoms followed by a rash. It is highly infectious and is most infectious from 4 days before the rash appears until 4 days afterwards.

Most children are immune to measles as a result of having the MMR vaccine.

Measles had become very rare, but recently the incidence of measles has increased again as a result of reduced uptake of the vaccine.

Children with kidney disease who are taking immunosuppressant medication can be more severely affected if they catch measles.

Immunosuppressant treatments suppress our immune systems, for example to prevent rejection of kidney transplants or high dose steroids in nephrotic syndrome and other conditions.

Most of these children will have had the MMR vaccine and will be protected. The government’s advice is that people who are receiving immunosuppressant medication should have their measles immunity status checked at their next routine out-patient appointment.

If your child is receiving immunosuppressant medication and has been in contact with someone who has measles, or goes on to develop measles within the next 4 days, you should contact your child’s kidney unit.

  • If your child is already known to have immunity to measles from a blood test recently, no further action would usually be required.
  • If your child’s measles immunity status has not be established recently they will need to attend for a blood test.
  • If your child is already known to have to have no immunity to measles, or if they have not had any MMR vaccine, or if the urgent measles test shows no immunity, they will need to have a dose of intravenous immunoglobulin to give some protection should they go on to develop measles.

Please ask doctors or nurses at your child’s kidney unit if you need any more advice about this.

More information

  • Conditions

    Find information about kidney conditions in children.

  • Steroids and immunosuppressants

    Understand more about the steroids and immunosuppressants your child may be prescribed.

  • Kidney paediatric healthcare teams

    Understand who the members of your child's kidney healthcare team will be.