THE HSE is urging adults under 40 across the Mid-West to get the MMR vaccine as the number of reported cases in the Limerick measles outbreak has risen once again.
There are now 22 cases of measles in the Mid-West region since the beginning of the year - all but one which are in Limerick city and one in Clare, the HSE Mid-West has confirmed this Wednesday evening.
The HSE said that the outbreak of measles in the Mid-West "demonstrates that measles is not just a childhood illness".
An Outbreak Control Team made up of representatives from the HSE is involved in managing the outbreak in an effort to prevent further spread.
A spokesperson said: "We are asking all adults aged under 40 to check if they have had two doses of MMR and if not to arrange to get immunised by their GP.
"During this outbreak MMR vaccine is free of charge to the public as the HSE is paying for the vaccine and for the GPs to give the vaccine.
"The following groups, in particular, should check if they have had two doses of MMR and if not, visit their GP to get immunised as soon as possible.
"If people do not have a medical record of their vaccination it is not harmful to have extra doses to be on the safe side: Parents under the age of 40 who have never had measles or haven’t had the full course of MMR vaccine; Adults under the age of 40 who work with the public; Couples under the age of 40 who may be planning a family; Adults and young people under the age of 40 who plan to travel abroad in the coming months."
The spokesperson said it was also important that parents of children in the region also check if their children have had the vaccines appropriate for their age.
"Patients with symptoms of measles should avoid presenting to the emergency department where possible. If it is necessary to seek urgent care, it is important to inform the ambulance service or emergency department that you have symptoms consistent with measles beforehand so that the appropriate precautions can be taken.
"Similarly, if you have been in contact with a confirmed case of measles and are seeking medical attention, please inform the healthcare provider before attending.
"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."