Parents urged to vaccinate children after outbreak in west Cork worsens


Health authorities have urged parents to ensure children are vaccinated against measles after the worsening of an outbreak in west Cork that has affected more than 50 children.

Assistant national director of health protection Dr Kevin Kelleher said two of those affected had been hospitalised.

“Most of the children infected in Cork are teenagers and 88 per cent of cases have never received any dose of MMR vaccine. This large and rapidly spreading outbreak is a major concern not only to people in west Cork but for the whole of Ireland,” Dr Kelleher said.

He said children under a year old are those most likely to be liable to severe complications linked to measles.

MMR vaccine is routinely provided at 12 months of age and again at preschool age.

The Health Service Executive said older children who did not get the vaccine at these ages needed to be vaccinated. Children under 13 years who did not receive the vaccine may still get it free of charge from their GP.

Local GP Dr Brian O’Connell said he was taken aback at how contagious the illness was. He said some teenagers may not have received the MMR vaccine after controversy over it in the late 1990s.

This research, which had linked the vaccine with bowel disease and autism, has since been largely discredited.