Measles outbreak in Limerick continues to worsen after four months

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Measles outbreak in Limerick continues to worsen after four months

THE HSE has confirmed that there are now 28 cases of measles in the Mid-West region, the majority of which are in Limerick city.

This week marks the fourth month since the measles outbreak was first announced by the HSE. 

Three cases are linked to Clare, Dublin and Galway. 

“There are also a number of cases in the South East area, who are possibly linked to the Limerick outbreak,” the HSE said. 

The HSE is continuing to urge adults aged under 40 across the Mid-West to get the MMR vaccine which is available free from GPs and is warning that “measles is a serious public health issue”.

A spokesperson said: “Over two thirds of cases are aged between 15 and 50 years. As cases are continuing to occur the HSE is advising that adults who have not had measles infection in the past 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.”

A free HSE MMR vaccination clinic is being held today with no appointment needed at Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Edward Street and next Thursday, April 12 at 3-4pm.

“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,” said a spokersperson.

“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.”

Bernard Gloster, chief officer for HSE Mid-West, pictured, has urged people to avail of the vaccines. “They [the programmes] have been the subject of criticism and concern and views. People are entitled to their views, but certainly, when I see some of the commentary that I see about vaccines and I now look at the 25-plus cases of the outbreak of measles, it really for me is two and two will always be four. And we have to continue to get our protection levels up.”