Measles outbreak - children must get vaccinated


The Health Protection Surveillance Centre is urging all parents to make sure that their children are vaccinated against measles following a national outbreak of the disease which has caused a number of children to need hospitalisation.

The outbreak which started in August, is continuing, and there are real concerns about spread among non-vaccinated individuals. A majority of cases this year have occurred among children from the Traveler community.

Measles is highly infectious and can cause severe illness and occasionally cause death. An outbreak in 2000 resulted in more than 1600 cases and three deaths.

As vaccination with the MMR is the only way to prevent measles infection, all parents must make sure their children have received the recommended two doses of the vaccine. While the first dose is usually given at 12 months of age by GPs and the second in school at 4-5 years of age, the vaccine can be received at any time. Anyone who is not sure about their vaccination status should get another dose, which will not do them any harm, and will protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

Further information on the measles outbreak is available in a recent HPSC press release and measles articles in January's issue of Epi-Insight and the March issue of Eurosurveillance.