Friday 14 December 2018

Measles outbreak continues to worsen as HSE confirms 28 cases

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Eilish O'Regan & Newsdesk

The HSE has said that there are now 28 confirmed measle cases linked to the ongoing outbreak in the mid-west region.

Cases have emerged in all regions but the worst hit are the mid-west, with the majority of cases in Limerick city. Parts of Dublin have also been affected. There are also a number of cases in the south-east area, which are possibly linked to the Limerick outbreak.

The HSE is urging adults under 40 to get the MMR vaccine, which is free from GPs.

The rate of infection has been highest among young children since the beginning of the year but a number of cases have been diagnosed in adults over 35 years of age.

The reason why older age groups are becoming infected is due to them not being vaccinated with the MMR jab against the disease.

Children younger than five years of age and adults older than 20 years of age are more likely to suffer from measles complications.

The HSE said that measles is a "serious public health issue".

Measles is an extremely contagious disease that is spread easily through coughing and sneezing. It 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.

Three measles outbreaks have been reported in Ireland since the beginning of 2018, the disease watchdog, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, revealed.

"The high number of teenagers and adults affected is of particular concern," said disease expert Suzanne Cotter.

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