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Measles outbreak – HSE urges under 40s to vaccinate

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Ireland is currently suffering from a measles outbreak, which began in Limerick, January of this year, with forty confirmed cases. Measles is highly infectious, so much so that 90% of those who have contact with someone who is contagious are extremely likely to develop the disease. This is amid a widespread European outbreak of the disease.

The symptoms of Measles include;

  • cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, watery eyes, swollen eyelids and sneezing,
  • red eyes and sensitivity to light,
  • a mild to severe temperature, which may peak at over 40.6°C (105°F) for several days, then fall but go up again when the rash appears,
  • tiny greyish-white spots (called Koplik’s spots) in the mouth and throat,
  • tiredness, irritability and general lack of energy,
  • aches and pains,
  • poor appetite,
  • dry cough, and
  • red-brown spotty rash

These symptoms usually last approximately 14 days, however those with measles are infectious for the four days before and the four days after the appearance of symptoms.

The outbreak has been attributed to the fall in vaccination rates which has lead to a fall in herd-immunity, putting children under 12, pregnant women and those who can’t get the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine has been confirmed as safe by the HSE and all those who have not had Measles previously or have not had their two MMR vaccine shots should avail of the free vaccinations available from GPs nation wide.

If you believe that you have measles it is advised that you phone your GP rather than visiting the GP practice. You should advise the nurse that you believe that you have measles and prevent others from visiting your house. Please also call the Department of Public Health at 061 – 483338 to advise that you think you may have measles.

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