North Dublin Measles Outbreak Update

The Department of Public Health East are managing a measles outbreak in the North Dublin area. Since July, there have been 13 measles cases in adults and children in North Dublin’s inner city. Transmission has occurred in Dublin hospitals and in households with poor vaccine uptake. We are now starting to see cases that acquired measles in the wider inner city community. There have been no deaths from measles associated with this outbreak to date.

Dr Ruth McDermott, Public Health Doctor said: “Measles can be a serious illness and is highly infectious. The best protection is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine”.

People at increased risk of getting measles are those who are not fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine or have not had measles in the past. The risk of measles remains for up to 21 days after contact with a case of measles.

If you think you may have measles, stay at home and phone your General Practitioner (GP) for advice.

People who are sick should not attend any congregated settings such as crèche, school, work or religious gatherings until they have recovered from illness.

Actions taken to prevent further cases:

The Public Health Department has sent information on measles to all Emergency Departments and GPs in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow to inform them of this measles outbreak.

The Public Health Department gives the following advice on the most effective measures to control the further spread of this potentially serious illness:

Vaccination with measles containing vaccine (MMR):

  • All children should get the MMR vaccine when they are aged 12 months. If any child aged over 12 months has missed this vaccine they should get it now from their GP.
  • All children should get a second dose of MMR vaccine when they are 4-5 years old.  This is usually given in Junior Infant Class at school. If a child has missed this second MMR vaccine they should get it now from their GP.
  • Adults under 40 years who have not had measles or have not received 2 doses of MMR vaccine should contact their GP to get the MMR vaccine.

 

Measles symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Red rash that starts on head and spread 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
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea and tummy pain may also happen.

 

Measures to prevent the spread of measles if you think you may have measles:

1. Do not go to work, school or crèche or any congregate setting such as shopping centre/cinema etc.

2. Stay at home and phone your GP. Tell the doctor or nurse that you think you might have measles.

3. Stop visitors coming to your house to prevent the spread of measles.

4. Pregnant women who have been exposed to measles should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

 

Risk of measles from international travel:

There are on-going outbreaks of measles in many countries in the European region and worldwide. Most of the cases in the EU in 2018 were reported from Romania, France, Greece, and Italy. Most people who get measles on holiday do not know they were exposed until they develop disease. Unrecognised exposures to measles have occurred at airports, on planes, at concerts, in shops and health care settings. In 2018, 31 deaths associated with measles have been reported in EU countries.

Advice for people travelling abroad:

Vaccination remains the most effective measure against infection. Children aged 6-11 months of age, travelling to other countries and regions where measles outbreaks are reported, are recommended MMR vaccine. This is an extra MMR vaccine. A dose given before 12 months of age does not replace the dose that would normally be given at 12 months of age.  Please note, if requesting the MMR for babies from 6-11 months to protect them while travelling, the vaccine itself will be free but there will be an administration fee to be paid to your GP for this vaccine (as it is a travel vaccine).”

Older children should be age appropriately vaccinated. Children who have missed their recommended doses should get the MMR vaccine from their GP.

Adults may be at risk of measles, particularly those under 40 years of age who have never had measles or two doses of a measles vaccine.

 

More about measles:

Measles is highly contagious and is spread easily. The time between exposure to measles and developing the rash is usually 14 days (range 7-21 days). People are infectious from four days before rash starts until four days after.

Complications of measles:

Measles can cause chest infections, fits (seizures), ear infections, swelling of the brain and/or damage to the brain.

Measles is a notifiable disease and GPs and hospital clinicians should immediately notify Public Health if they suspect someone has measles

 

Last updated on: 22 / 08 / 2018