Wednesday 7 February 2024
- First confirmed measles case in Ireland in 2024
The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been notified of the death of an adult with confirmed measles, which took place in a hospital in the Dublin and Midlands Health Region. This is the first confirmed measles case notified in Ireland in 2024.
HSE public health teams, along with the HSE Measles National Incident Management Team (IMT), are taking all necessary public health actions in relation to the case. The HSE Measles IMT was established in response to a recent rise in measles cases in the UK and Europe.
The HSE offers MMR vaccine to protect against measles to all children as part of its childhood immunisation schedule. The HSE also offers a catch up MMR option for children aged 10 years and under who may have missed out on vaccination. The HSE will keep the public informed of further measures and, in the meantime, anyone with concerns should contact their GP.
There were four measles cases reported in 2023, two case reported in 2022, no cases were reported in 2021 and five cases were reported in 2020. There were no deaths reported in any of those years.
Measles is a highly infectious disease that can cause serious complications, particularly in children under one year of age, pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed.
Signs and symptoms of measles
The symptoms of measles include:
- Cold-like symptoms such as aches and pains, a runny nose, sneezing and a cough
- Sore red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above, which may reach around 40 degrees Celsius
- Small greyish-white spots in your mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy
- Rash, which usually appears on head and neck first and spreads to rest of body
Further information about measles symptoms is available at: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/measles/
If you have these symptoms, please seek medical advice. Phone ahead prior to attending your GP, Emergency Department or other healthcare provider to inform the healthcare professionals that you have these symptoms, so they can make necessary arrangements. In addition, please alert medical staff if you have been in contact with someone who has measles or if you have recently travelled to an area where you know measles has been spreading.
Measles risk and vaccination
MMR vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from measles. Two doses of MMR vaccine are necessary to be considered fully vaccinated. The first dose is given by your GP when your child is 12 months of age. The second dose is given by school vaccination teams when your child is in junior infants. Parents are encouraged to check that their children’s vaccines are up-to-date. If your child has missed either or both of their MMR vaccines, please contact your GP practice to arrange a catch-up vaccine. Uptake of both doses of MMR vaccine has been below 90% for some time which is of great concern because of the serious and infectious nature of measles. We therefore urge all families to take up the offer of vaccine now for their children. It is not too late to be vaccinated.
Serious complications of measles include pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain); one in five infected may need to go to hospital and it can be fatal.
Measles outbreak in England
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported a resurgence of measles in England in 2023 particularly in the West Midlands and London, however all regions of England have reported cases. The latest information on the epidemiology of the current UKHSA national measles incident is available.
Further information about vaccination is available at www.immunisation.ie
Last updated on: 08 / 02 / 2024