The HSE has urged adults under 40 to get themselves vaccinated against measles as the highly infectious disease spreads across the country.
According to the latest figures released by the HSE, there “are now 28 confirmed measles cases linked to the ongoing outbreak in the Mid-West region”.
It added: “The majority of these are in Limerick City.”
“There is one associated case in Clare, one in Dublin and one in Galway, all linked to the Limerick outbreak. There are also a number of cases in the South East area, who are possibly linked to the Limerick outbreak.”
“Over two thirds of cases are aged between 15 and 50 years,” the HSE said.
As cases rise the HSE advised any adults who have not had measles in the past, that they “should ensure that they have had two doses of MMR vaccine”.
“There is a risk of ongoing exposure especially for those whose work involves meeting large numbers of people e.g. people who work with children, people who work in healthcare, those who work in education, those working in public offices or public services and those who work in retail premises and those who attend healthcare premises either as patients or visitors.”
“Parents should also ensure that their children are up to date with their MMR vaccinations. Those due to sit exams should ensure they are vaccinated due to the potential disruption to their exams that measles infection could cause,” the HSE added.
There was a 400% increase in the number of measles cases in Europe in 2017 compared with 2016, and there are currently large ongoing outbreaks of the disease in the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Greece, a pond Romania, in particular,
“Measles can be transmitted easily within the confined space of an airplane to people who are non-immune. The MMR (vaccine) is especially important in those who are planning to travel abroad,” the HSE added.
A free MMR vaccination clinic - with no appointment needed - is to be available in Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Edward Street, Limerick, from 3pm-4pm, on Thursday, 12 April.
The HSE also stated that as an additional measure for the duration of the current outbreak, the MMR vaccine will be free of charge to the public from their GPs.
“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,” the HSE explained.
“It is spread easily through coughing and sneezing, and it can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain.”
“In rare cases, it can 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.”