We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Measles contact tracing begins as HSE issues advice over potential exposure to virus

It comes after it was confirmed that a man in Leinster died after contracting measles.

THE HSE HAS issued an urgent public health alert over the possibility that some people may have been exposed to measles in the last two weeks. 

It comes after it was confirmed that a man in Leinster died after contracting measles – the first measles death in Ireland in over 20 years.

The health service is advising anyone who travelled on the 115 Bus Éireann route between Dublin and Mullingar between Tuesday 30 January and Monday, 5 February that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Anyone who was at a restaurant in Mullingar Business Park on Monday, 29 January  between 2pm and 4.30pm may also have been exposed to measles. 

The HSE said that anyone affected should be aware of the symptoms of measles for 21 days from exposure.

These symptoms include:

  • Cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and a cough
  • Sore red eyes
  • A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above
  • A rash, which usually appears on head and neck first and then spreads to the rest of the body
  • Small greyish-white spots in your mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice, with the health service advising people to phone ahead prior to attending any healthcare setting.

The HSE also said that those who may have been exposed to the virus should ensure that they are up to date with MMR vaccines. 

It said that any person who has not received two doses of the MMR vaccine should contact their GP as soon as possible.

The vaccine can be given to children, while a catch-up MMR programme is also being offered to those who may have missed their vaccination when they were younger. 

The HSE added that the health alert relates to the specific dates outlined above and said it is not asking people to avoid the bus route or any restaurant.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast yesterday, Director of Public Health at the HSE National Immunisation Office Dr Lucy Jessop said the Public Health Team in the Dublin-Midlands region are “working very hard to contact trace people that would have possibly been in contact with the case when they were infectious”.

“We have a lot of experience in contact tracing in measles and in other diseases,” she said.

“The thing with measles is you are actually infectious for five days before the rash appears. Sometimes that can be a little bit difficult to trace everybody, but they will be doing everything they can”.

As of 3 February, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has reported nine suspected measles cases in Ireland.

These cases are currently under investigation and need to be tested in a laboratory before being confirmed as measles.

Seven of these cases have been defined as ‘possible’ measles, while two are listed as ‘probable’ measles.

The suspected cases, all involving children aged nine and younger, were reported between 28 January and 3 February.

Two or more cases of measles are classed as an outbreak.