Measles outbreak, Ireland 2016

An outbreak of measles has been declared in Ireland. Several cases have been identified and the areas most affected are the East, South and Midwest. All cases have been in those under 30 years of age, with most cases occurring in the 15-19 age group. Most of those who have been infected did not know they had been in contact with measles. Most had not had the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. Updated HSE information on the outbreak can be found on

Measles is very contagious and can affect anyone at any age.

Vaccination with MMR vaccine is the only way to protect against measles.

For more details on measles infection and the MMR vaccine please visit our MMR page

In Ireland the first MMR dose is given by GPs at 12 months of age, and the second dose is given to Junior Infants at school by HSE vaccination teams or by GPs in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. 

What should young adults and parents do? 

Make sure you or your children are up to date with their MMR vaccines.

Please go to your GP now for MMR vaccination if 

  •  you have not had 2 MMR vaccines
  •  you have a preschool or primary school child who never had MMR vaccine
  •  you have a primary school aged child who missed out on the 2nd dose of MMR vaccine in Junior Infants
  •  you are not sure if your child has had the full course of 2 doses 

What about children under 12 months of age? 

There is no change to the recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) - MMR vaccine is recommended at 12 months and 4-5 years of age. 

MMR vaccine may take up to 4 weeks to be effective.

The vaccine is available for healthcare professionals to order free of charge through the National Cold Chain Service. 

Travelling Abroad?

All individuals travelling to Europe and other regions where measles continues to occur should ensure that they are vaccinated with MMR if needed. 

Attending Summer Camps or Language Colleges?

All children and young people going to language colleges or other summer camps should be up to date with MMR vaccine. 

More information is available on the links below 

This section was updated on 5th July 2016.