HSE urges adults under 40 to get MMR vaccine following measles outbreak
23 cases of measles have been reported in the Mid-West region in 2018 so far.
An outbreak of measles has been confirmed in Ireland's Mid-West.
23 cases of the viral illness have been reported in the region, with most of those cases reported in Limerick. One case has also been reported in Clare.
The HSE is providing free MMR vaccination clinics, with no need for an appointment, in Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Edward Street, Limerick on Thursday, 22 and Thursday, 29 March, as well as Thursday, 5 and Thursday, 12 April between 3pm and 4pm.
As part of the outbreak control measures, the MMR vaccine is also being provided free through GPs. The HSE is paying for the vaccine and for the GPs to give the vaccine.
The HSE released a statement on their website advising all adults under the age of 40 to make use of the free service, in an attempt to eschew the spread of infection.
"We are asking all adults aged under 40 to check if they have had two doses of MMR and if not to arrange to get immunised by their GP," the statement read.
"The following groups, in particular, should check if they have had two doses of MMR and if not, visit their GP to get immunised as soon as possible. If people do not have a medical record of their vaccination it is not harmful to have extra doses to be on the safe side.
- Parents under the age of 40 who have never had measles or haven’t had the full course of MMR vaccine.
- Adults under the age of 40 who work with the public. Some jobs pose more of a risk than others e.g. people who work with children, people who work in healthcare. This is as measles is very infectious and as this outbreak continues the risk of exposure continues.
- Couples under the age of 40 who may be planning a family. This is as once a woman is pregnant she is unable to get the MMR vaccine until after the baby arrives. Measles increases the risk of miscarriage and still birth. There is no treatment available which reduces this risk.
- Adults and young people under the age of 40 who plan to travel abroad in the coming months. There are a number of large outbreaks of measles in the UK, Europe and across the world currently. Measles can be transmitted easily within the confined space of an airplane to people who are non-immune.
- It is also important that parents of children in the region also check if their children have had the vaccines appropriate for their age (1st one at 1 year, 2nd one in Junior Infants in primary school). Parents whose children are sitting exams may wish to prioritise this due to the potential disruption to their exams an infection could cause. It is also especially important in those who are planning to bring their children abroad.
- People who cannot get the MMR vaccine i.e. young infants, pregnant women and those whose immune systems are weakened (cancer patients etc.) are relying on the people around them who can get the MMR vaccine to help protect them.
The statement went on to say that people who have persisting symptoms of measles infection (rash, fever, cough, temperature) should stay home from work and school and avoid presenting to the emergency department where possible.