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First case of acute rubella confirmed in Ireland in 11 years

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Advice: The best protection is to get the MMR vaccine. Stock photo: REUTERS

Advice: The best protection is to get the MMR vaccine. Stock photo: REUTERS

Advice: The best protection is to get the MMR vaccine. Stock photo: REUTERS

HEALTH chiefs confirmed they are dealing with the first case of acute rubella in Ireland for 11 years.

The Health Service Executive's Department of Public Health-South confirmed that it was notified of a case of rubella, once known as German measles, over recent weeks but refused to comment on either the location or the age of the individual involved.

The Director of Public Health-HSE South, Dr Augustine Pereira, stressed that the best protection from rubella is the MMR vaccine.

While usually a mild disease in adults, rubella can be exceptionally serious for pregnant women as it can harm their unborn baby.

A HSE-South spokesperson said that specifics of the case, located in the Cork area, will not be revealed.

However, it is understood that workers at a multinational company in Cork have been informed the detection involved someone in close contact with a member of their workforce.

"The HSE cannot comment on the specifics of the case, as we have a duty to protect the privacy of the person affected. We will not make any comment that could identify the individual involved," a spokesperson said.

"However, we can confirm that all precautionary steps have been taken to alert anyone who may have been in contact with the individual."

The Department of Public Health has been in touch with all GPs in the area."

"GPs in the area have been asked for their support in maintaining increased surveillance, and also to encourage any non-vaccinated individuals born after 1978 (less than 42 years of age) to get the MMR vaccine. The vaccine is free of charge and available from your GP."

Rubella, which is highly contagious and caused by the rubella virus, is a notifiable disease which must be reported by doctors.

It is usually a mild acute viral disease accompanied by a low grade fever of up to 38C and a red-pink rash usually starting on the face and progressing from head to foot.

The illness may be fleeting but typically lasts about three days.

It can be itchy and the rash involved is fainter than the measles rash and is more obvious after a hot shower or bath.

Individuals with rubella are most infectious from one week before to one week after the onset of the rash.

The incubation period is 14-17 days, with most developing a rash 14-17 days after exposure.

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