THE HEALTH Service Executive (HSE) is offering free vaccinations to the public in order to combat the current outbreak of measles in Limerick.
On Wednesday evening, the HSE stated that four cases were confirmed in Limerick city since January 3, and that this number “constitutes an outbreak of the disease”.
“An Outbreak Control Team made up of representatives from the HSE are involved in managing the outbreak in an effort to prevent further spread,” a spokesperson stated.
As part of the measures to control the outbreak, Our Lady of Lourdes Services Centre will run a free clinic to offer MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccines, this Friday between 10am and 1pm.
This will include “children and adults, especially those aged less than 40, who live in the Ballinacurra Weston and Carew Park areas and who have not already had the MMR vaccine or had measles infection in the past”.
Measles is a virus that is spread through direct contact and through the air.
“It is highly contagious and is spread easily. One case of measles can infect 15-20 unvaccinated people. While the numbers of cases of measles in Ireland has reduced dramatically since the introduction of the measles vaccine, it remains a significant cause of death among young children worldwide.
“People most at risk of catching measles are those who either have not had measles infection in the past, those who are not fully vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR vaccine (in particular babies younger than 12 months who are too young to be vaccinated), and those with weakened immune systems. Anyone who has been exposed and is not immune to measles may develop measles up to three weeks following date of exposure,” the HSE explained in an alert this Wednesday.
Symptoms can include high fever; cough; runny nose; red eyes; red rash that starts on head and spread down the body; and vomiting, diarrhoea and tummy pain may also happen.
Anyone who develops measles symptoms are advised to stay at home from work and for children to not attend school or creche.
Stay at home from work. Children should not attend school or crèche. They are asked to contact the Department of Public Health at 061 483338 to advise that you think you/your child may have measles. People are also asked to contact their local GP.