MMR booster offered to 70,000 pupils
Nearly 70,000 children who return to junior infants classes in primary schools this week are being offered a measles mumps and rubella (MMR) booster vaccine.
Public health doctors are encouraging parents to avail of the vaccine for the schoolchildren as those who have not received two doses are most at risk.
It comes after seven cases of measles were diagnosed in recent weeks in north Dublin and Co Meath.
There have been more than 40 cases of measles reported in Ireland this year - but many other countries in Europe have seen an upsurge in the disease in 2017.
Outbreaks since January 2016 have led to 44 deaths across Europe including in Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, France and Britain.
An adult born since 1978 who has not received two doses of the MMR vaccine should contact their GP to have the jab.
Most of the vaccination of children in junior infants is carried out by HSE staff in school.
Measles starts with cold-like symptoms that develop about 10 days after becoming infected. This is followed a few days later by the measles rash.
In the most severe cases meningitis involving the infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord can happen or there can be infection of the brain itself.
Meanwhile, a survey is under way in Irish universities and third-level colleges to identify the proportion of reported mumps cases in students that are laboratory confirmed and whether other respiratory infections are causing mumps-like illness.
Mumps can have serious complications including viral meningitis and inflammation of the brain, pancreatitis and deafness.