In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Ireland’s Mid-West region, the Health Service Executive (HSE) reports there are now 27 cases of measles confirmed since the beginning of the year.
The majority of these are in Limerick City and one is in Clare but linked to Limerick. Almost two thirds of cases are aged between 15 and 40 years demonstrating that measles is not just an illness of childhood. Half of the cases have been hospitalized.
A free HSE MMR vaccination clinic (no appointment needed) is being held in Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Edward Street, Limerick next Thursday 12th April at 3-4pm. Additionally for the duration of this outbreak MMR vaccination is free of charge to the public from GPs as the HSE is paying for the vaccine and for the GPs to give the vaccine
Measles is a serious public health issue. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. It is spread easily through coughing and sneezing. Measles can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain and can, in rare cases, lead to a fatal disease of the brain which develops years after the infection. The mortality rate from measles infection is 1-2 per 1,000 cases.
The only effective protection against measles is two doses of the MMR vaccine. Anyone who has not had two doses of MMR is at high risk of getting measles if they come in contact with someone who has it. Many adults this age also have young children, which means they are more likely to be exposed to measles and may in turn expose their babies and young children to measles if they get it.