Forty cases of measles reported in growing outbreak

Parents advised to check children’s MMR vaccinations as third of cases hospitalised

The MMR vaccine prevents people contracting measles in 99 per cent of cases, after two doses

The MMR vaccine prevents people contracting measles in 99 per cent of cases, after two doses

 

Parents have been urged to ensure their children’s vaccinations are up to date as a measles outbreak grows.

Forty suspected cases of measles have been reported to the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), of which 21 have been confirmed.

The outbreak centres on the south-west but some cases have been reported in Dublin, the mid-west and north-east.

Although public health doctors have traced the origin and spread of the disease, the outbreak has not been contained. The first case was reported in early May. Most cases have occurred in those not vaccinated.

Fever and rash

Suzanne Cotter

She also urged doctors to “think measles” when they see a fever or rash, even if it leads to over-reporting.

Of the 40 cases reported so far, one-third were hospitalised, but all are recovering well. The age of people affected ranges from newborns to 35-year-olds.

In the south-west, 29 cases have been confirmed or are being investigated; none of those affected had been vaccinated. It includes six cases of infants under one who cannot have the MMR vaccine.

The MMR vaccine prevents people contracting measles in 99 per cent of cases, after two doses.

The current outbreak originated with a person who travelled to Ireland from elsewhere in Europe.

Whooping cough

In most years, there are a handful of measles cases in Ireland. Symptoms usually appear about 10 days after exposure. They include a runny nose, conjunctivitis, hacking cough and a fever that comes and goes. A measles rash usually appears about four days after the early symptoms. It consists of flat red or brown blotches, which can flow into each other.

There has also been an outbreak of whooping cough among small babies this year, leading to one death.