HSE investigating case of measles

Published:

The HSE is currently investigating a confirmed case of measles. To date all known relevant contacts of the individual concerned have been notified and advised of the risk by HSE Consultants in Public Health. The HSE are continuing to identify those who may have been exposed to prevent further transmission and ensure people are aware of the risk. 

However, as it is not possible to specifically identify all those likely to have been exposed in this case, the HSE is seeking to highlight the signs and symptoms of measles. Those who may be at risk include anyone who did not have measles in the past and those who have not been fully vaccinated (i.e. if they have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine). The person diagnosed in this case was in a number of public settings in Dublin and Kerry in the week leading up to and including the May Bank Holiday weekend (April 25th to May 2nd).  

Dr Kevin Kelleher, HSE Consultant in Public Health today stressed that “most people will have nothing to worry about as the vast majority of the population have been fully vaccinated. We are being very cautious in this instance because measles is potentially a serious condition. We are currently very close to eliminating measles here in Ireland.” 

Measles is highly infectious and is spread easily. There is a high chance that individuals who have not been fully vaccinated will develop measles if they are exposed.   

Control of measles in Ireland has been very successful. There are only a handful of cases each year, and so far in 2016 there have been two cases. Ireland is striving to eliminate measles entirely and prevent onward transmission. 

Anyone with signs or symptoms suggestive of measles, particularly if they have not been fully vaccinated or had measles in the past, should stay at home, not go to school or work and phone their GP and explain that they may be at risk of measles. 

Signs and symptoms of measles:
Symptoms usually appear about 10 days after exposure. Irritability, a runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes), a hacking cough and an increasing fever that comes and goes. These symptoms usually last 2-4 days, and can be mistaken for a cold. 

A measles rash usually appears about four days after the early symptoms. The rash typically starts on the forehead and spreads downwards, over the face, neck and body. The rash consists of flat red or brown blotches, which can flow into each other. It lasts about 4-7 days. Symptoms may also include diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.