Fifteen cases of measles have been confirmed in Kerry, in an outbreak which could be traced to April when an infectious person travelled by air from Dublin to Kerry.
The manager of Kerry University Hospital, Maria Godley, is asking parents visiting the hospital not to bring children unless there were exceptional circumstances.
Those with suspected measles, a highly contagious disease, should also not attend a doctor’s surgery and should instead arrange a home visit.
The 15 cases so far were confirmed by GPs and public health nurses and technically the level was now “an outbreak”. However there may be more milder cases which had not been confirmed, Ms Godley said.
This outbreak has been traced to April and the arrival of a person by plane who presented at hospital. The disease is airborne and highly contagious. Recently a child who presented at the Accident and Emergency department at KUH and was there for a number of hours was found to have had 120 contacts, which had to be traced by clerical staff.
The emergency department and the paediatric departments have been under huge pressure. Martin Boyd, consultant at the emergency department, said measles was difficult to spot until the rash appeared and the most contagious period was four days before the rash, and four days after its appearance. Sore throat, head cold, runny nose, conjunctivitis, cough and fever were among the symptoms.
Those who get the two sets of MMR vaccinations (at 12 months and at four years) are 99% protected against the virus, Mr Boyd assured the public on Radio Kerry.
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