HSE issues measles alert for Temple Street hospital visitors

Children who attended outpatient and A&E departments at end of July, early August at risk

The measles virus ( single virus particle above)  is  highly contagious and is spread easily. The time between exposure and developing a rash is usually 14 days, although it can range from seven to 21 days. Photograph: Getty Images

The measles virus ( single virus particle above) is highly contagious and is spread easily. The time between exposure and developing a rash is usually 14 days, although it can range from seven to 21 days. Photograph: Getty Images

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The HSE has said it is concerned about the risk of measles in children who attended Temple Street children’s hospital in Dublin at the end of July.

The executive has been notified about a further five cases of the disease in recent days, bringing the current outbreak to 11 so far.

Measles cases are also occurring in the community in Dublin, it said.

The HSE added that it was particularly concerned about the risk of measles in children who attended the outpatients department of Temple Street hospital on Wednesday July 25th between 9.30am and 2.00pm, those who attended the emergency department the following day, Thursday July 26th between 7.15pm and midnight, those who attended the emergency department on Friday July 27th between 4.20pm and 7.30pm or the emergency department on. Monday August 6th between 2.20pm and 10.00pm. This is because they may have been exposed to an infectious case of measles during those times.

People who suspect they may have contracted the disease are advised to stay home, contact their GP and not allow visitors. Pregnant women who have been exposed to measles should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Infectious

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread easily. The time between exposure and developing a rash is usually 14 days, although it can range from seven to 21 days.

However people are infectious from four days, before a rash begins to appear, and until four days afterwards.

Measles can cause chest infections, seizures, ear infections, swelling and potentially, damage to the brain.

The HSE requests people be vigilant. “Measles can be a serious illness and is highly infectious. The best protection is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine,” said Dr Helena Murray, specialist in public health medicine.

People at increased risk of getting measles are those who are not fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine or have not had measles in the past.

Symptoms include a high fever, coughing, runny nose and red eyes. The red rash associated with the condition begins on the head and spreads down the body. This normally starts a few days after the onset of illness.

The rash consists of flat red or brown blotches which can flow into each other, and lasts between four and seven days. Vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain can also occur.

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