HSE confirms measles outbreak in Limerick, plus linked case in Dublin

By David Raleigh

Parents in the mid-west region have been urged by the HSE to vaccinate their children against measles after an outbreak of the contagious infection in Limerick.

The HSE has confirmed there have been 15 confirmed cases in the Treaty City so far this year, plus another linked case in Dublin.

The linked case is understood to have involved a child who contracted the disease in a Limerick hospital and who was then admitted to Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin, this month.

It's believed the initial case of measles was contracted by a patient who visited the Middle East over the Christmas period.

The HSE stated today: “There are now fifteen cases of measles infection confirmed in Limerick City this year and a linked case confirmed in Dublin. These cases have attended a number of community and healthcare settings across the city. Most cases so far are associated with the Ballinacurra Weston and Carew Park (Southill) area of the city.”

A number of “suspect cases” are also being investigated.

“Official immunisation uptake statistics for the first dose of MMR (recommended at 12 months of age) show that uptake in Limerick city and county has been consistently just below the target of 95% which the WHO recommends for population immunity over the past number of years,” the HSE stated.

“The best protection against measles is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine. All children should get MMR at 12 months of age and the second dose at 4-5 years of age. If your child missed their MMR vaccine you should contact your GP.”

Dr Mai Mannix , Director of Public Health in the Mid-West said the MMR vaccine is the “safest way that parents can protect their children against measles as infants, young children and their families are particularly vulnerable”.

“The MMR vaccine is used in 90 countries around the world and the World Health Organisation recognises MMR as a highly effective vaccine with an outstanding safety record.”

“Parents of children in Limerick city and county , Clare and North Tipperary should ensure their child is fully vaccinated for MMR and bring their child for vaccination if they have missed or not already had the correct number of doses for their age,” Dr Mannix added.

The HSE stated that, if people are unsure of their vaccination status they are advised to get an MMR vaccine, “as even if they do have two doses of MMR a third dose is not harmful”.

The HSE has run a vaccination clinic in the area where cases have been notified and further clinics are planned.

A free MMR clinic will operate on Wednesday 21 February, from 12 noon – 3pm, at Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Edward Street, Limerick.

The HSE stressed it was “calling on those living in the Carew Park and Ballinacurra Weston area of Limerick city to attend” the clinic.

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