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Free vaccine offered as Limerick measles outbreak worsens

Six new cases of measles were confirmed in Limerick today.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/adriaticfoto

THE HSE IS to offer free doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine, after confirming six new cases in Limerick city today, bringing to ten the total number of cases in the city since January 3 last.

“This constitutes an outbreak of the disease in the Limerick City. An ‘Outbreak Control Team’ made up of representatives from the HSE are involved in managing the outbreak in an effort to prevent further spread,” the HSE stated.

A number of further possible cases are being investigated.

“The best protection against measles is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine. All children should get MMR at 12 months of age and the second dose at 4-5 years of age,” the HSE stated.

If your child missed their scheduled MMR vaccine dose you should contact your GP to get the age appropriate dose. If people are unsure of their vaccination status they are advised to get an MMR vaccine, as even if they do have two doses of MMR a third dose is not harmful.

A free MMR clinic will operate in the Southill Health Centre on Friday 9 February, from 10am-1pm.

“We are calling on those living in the Carew Park and Ballinacurra Weston area of Limerick city to attend,” the HSE stated.

The following at risk groups have been advised to attend the clinic:

  • Parents of children aged between 1 year to 12 years of age who have not had two doses of MMR vaccine
  • Parents who are unsure if their children have had MMR vaccine
  • Adults under the age of 40 years who have never had the MMR vaccine

“At this point the only way to prevent the spread of this illness is to ensure vaccination of all those who can be vaccinated. This will also protect vulnerable  people who cannot be vaccinated including infants, pregnant women and those with very suppressed immune systems (e.g. patients undergoing chemotherapy),” added the HSE statement.

“Measles symptoms include: high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and red rash that starts on head and spreads down the body- this normally starts a few days after onset of illness.”

“The rash consists of flat red or brown blotches, which can flow into each other. It lasts about 4-7 days.”

The HSE also advised that anyone who develops measles symptoms should:

  • Stay at home from work. Children should not attend school or crèche. Keep isolated from other people so as to prevent spreading the illness.
  • Call the Department of Public Health at 061 – 483338 to advise that you think you/your child may have measles.
  • Telephone your GP and advise them that you think you have symptoms of measles  (and if you know that are a contact of a case of measles) so that they can see you at a time/place when no one else is there (to avoid infecting others).
  • Your GP may organise a test to confirm the diagnosis – this is usually done by using a small swab that takes a sample of the oral fluid from the mouth.

“Patients with symptoms of measles should avoid presenting to the emergency department where possible. If it is necessary to seek urgent care, it is important to inform the ambulance service or emergency department that you have symptoms consistent with measles beforehand so that the appropriate precautions can be taken,” it added.

“Similarly, if you have been in contact with a confirmed case of measles and are seeking medical attention, please inform the healthcare provider before attending.”

READ: ‘Do not drink’ water warning for parts of Meath following reports of rashes>

READ: Taoiseach says women seeking morning after pill should not face ‘invasive’ questioning>

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David Raleigh

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