Going away for holidays at Easter? Are you/your children protected against measles when on holiday?

Published:

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has reported on measles outbreaks in many European countries visited by Irish people on work and holiday.

Measles outbreaks in Europe
A large measles outbreak in Romania which was first reported in February 2016 continues. Since September 2016 to 17th March 2017, Romania has reported nearly 4000 cases. Outbreaks are also reported in; Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain.

Measles outbreaks outside the EU
Measles outbreaks have been detected in Australia, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Republic of South Sudan, Syria and South Africa.

Measles is a highly infectious and very serious disease. It can kill.

Many people who get measles never know who, or where, they got it from. The virus can survive in the air and on surfaces for about two hours after someone with measles coughed or sneezed. The virus can then be breathed in or picked up by non-immune children/teenagers and adults in the area. It is well recognised that exposure can occur in public transport and community spaces (such as airplanes, on buses, in airports, at schools and health care facilities) where someone with measles was while infectious.

Don’t ruin your child’s/your holiday because of measles. Think measles vaccine protection before you and your family go on holiday.

Further information
Communicable disease threats report, 19-25 March 2017, week 12 - See more at: http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/communicable-disease-threats-report-25-mar-2017.pdf

ECDC. Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Disease is available here http://atlas.ecdc.europa.eu/public/index.aspx


Recommendations

  • The only way to prevent measles is to be immunised. One dose protects about 95% of recipients and two doses about 99%.
  • All children should be vaccinated at 12 months of age with the first dose of MMR. The second dose is normally given at 4-5 years of age.
  • If your child has not received the MMR vaccine on time, now is the time to get it, before travelling. Children living in, or visiting, an area where measles outbreaks are occurring can get an early MMR vaccine to protect them from the infection, from the age of 6 months of age. But these children will need another dose at 12 months of age (at least one month after the infant dose) and another at 4-5 years of age.
  • Teenagers and young adults also need to be sure that they have vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine before travel.
  • If you are an older adult and never had measles or the vaccine you should speak to your GP about getting it.
  • Also remember, you don’t need to travel to be exposed to measles - a large measles outbreak occurred in Ireland in 2016 with 40 people infected.