Monday 22 October 2018

Doctors battling to halt the spread of measles

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Public health doctors are trying to contain a potential outbreak of measles in Limerick. A case has been confirmed in the city and as a precaution the HSE is writing to all patients identified as being at risk of exposure, advising them that they may be at risk of infection.

There was a risk of exposure having occurred in the emergency department of University Hospital Limerick on January 9 and at Shannondoc on January 7.

The HSE said anyone who had been exposed and was not immune to measles - either through natural infection or MMR vaccination - might develop the disease up to three weeks following the date of exposure.

"Measles is highly contagious and is spread easily. The time between exposure to measles and developing the rash is usually 14 days, ranging from seven to 21 days.

"People are infectious from four days before the rash starts until four days after," it said.

There were outbreaks of measles in north Dublin at the end of last year and a public health alert is now in place early once cases are notified to prevent spread.

Outbreaks of measles have been confirmed in five areas of England and now total more than 120 cases.

Public Health England (PHE) said the cases in West Yorkshire, Cheshire and Liverpool, West Midlands, Surrey and Greater Manchester were linked to ongoing large outbreaks in Europe.

The MMR jab protects against measles. Experts are urging parents to immunise their children.

Unvaccinated people travelling to Romania and Italy, where there are large outbreaks of the disease, are at particularly high risk, said the PHE.

Measles symptoms include:

High fever

Cough

Runny nose

Red eyes

A red rash that starts on the head and spreads down the body, normally a few days after the onset of illness.

Irish Independent

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