Warning over adult measles ‘outbreak’ in Co Cork

Health officials trying to trace those who may have been in contacted with infected people

A handout from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing a thin-section transmission electron micrograph of a single virus particle of measles virus. Health officials have issued a warning about an outbreak of adult measles in Co Cork. Photograph: CDC via Getty Images.

A handout from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing a thin-section transmission electron micrograph of a single virus particle of measles virus. Health officials have issued a warning about an outbreak of adult measles in Co Cork. Photograph: CDC via Getty Images.

 

Health officials have issued a warning about an outbreak of adult measles in Co Cork.

The HSE is also attempting to trace people who may have come into contact with those infected in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading.

The infected person was in public places in Mitchelstown and Clonmel, Co Tipperary while infectious and there is a possibility that members of the public may have been exposed to the virus, the HSE said.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre was notified by the HSE Department of Public Health in Cork that an adult had been confirmed with measles and health officials in the southern and southeastern regions are investigating.

The HSE said the person was in Supervalu on New Square in Mitchelstown on July 25th and 27th. They were also at the Living Health Clinic on Fermoy Road in Mitchelstown on July 28th while infectious.

The person was also in Clonmel over the same period between July 23rd and 24th and again between July 30th and August 3rd when they were infectious with the disease.

The symptoms of measles include a runny nose, red eyes and a fever developing into a red rash after four days. The rash typically starts on the forehead and spreads downwards, over the face, neck and body.

The rash consists of flat red or brown blotches, which can flow into each other, and lasts about four to seven days. Symptoms may also include diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain, the HSE said.

‘Exposed’

Dr Kevin Kelleher, consultant in public health, said measles can occur among non-immune individuals who may not realise that they have been exposed to measles.

“Measles is highly infectious and is spread easily, and there is a high chance that individuals who have not been fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine will develop measles if they are exposed,” he said.

“The time between exposure to measles virus and developing measles rash is normally 14 days. People are infectious from four days before the rash starts until four days after. If infectious cases are isolated early, the risk of transmission to vulnerable individuals decreases”.

Babies younger than 12 months and too young to be vaccinated as part of routine programme, non-immune pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable if exposed to the illness, he added.

The MMR vaccine is routinely given to children at 12 months with the second dose given when aged four to five years.

Dr Fiona Ryan, of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College Cork, told Red FM there have been 38 confirmed cases of measles nationally since mid-April. She urged anyone in the Mitchelstown and Clonmel areas to contact their GP if they start showing symptoms.