Measles in Ireland - second confirmed case reported


  • There have been two confirmed measles cases in Ireland in 2024

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre was notified on 6th March 2024 of a second case of confirmed measles in Ireland, based in the West. HSE Public Health teams, along with the HSE Measles National Incident Management Team (IMT), are taking all necessary public health actions in relation to the case.

The HSE Measles IMT was established in response to a recent rise in measles cases in the UK and Europe. The HSE will keep the public informed of further measures as required and, in the meantime, anyone with concerns should contact their GP.

The HSE is finalising plans for the roll out of a proactive MMR vaccine catch-up programme in response to a rise in measles case in the UK and Europe.

This catch-up programme will prioritise the following as uptake rates are currently lower in these groups:

  • Children and young adults
  • Healthcare workers
  • Underserved groups such as refugees, applicants seeking protection and the homeless community

Current public health advice indicates that people born in Ireland before 1978 are likely to have been exposed to measles as children and, therefore, unlikely to require MMR vaccine.

Further details of the MMR catch-up programme will be announced shortly.

MMR vaccines protects against measles, mumps and rubella. MMR vaccine uptake in Ireland is below the WHO recommended target of 95% uptake, which is required to prevent measles circulating.

About measles
Measles is a highly infectious disease that can cause serious complications, particularly in children under one year of age, pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed.

Signs and symptoms of measles
The symptoms of measles include:

  • Cold-like symptoms such as aches and pains, a runny nose, sneezing and a cough
  • Sore red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above, which may reach around 40 degrees Celsius
  • Small greyish-white spots in your mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy
  • Rash, which usually appears on head and neck first and spreads to rest of body

Further information about measles symptoms is available at: 

If you have these symptoms, please seek medical advice. Phone ahead prior to attending your GP, Emergency Department or other healthcare provider to inform the healthcare professionals that you have these symptoms, so they can make necessary arrangements. In addition, please alert medical staff if you have been in contact with someone who has measles or if you have recently travelled to an area where you know measles has been spreading.

Measles risk and vaccination
MMR vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from measles. Two doses of MMR vaccine are necessary to be considered fully vaccinated. The first dose is given by your GP when your child is 12 months of age. The second dose is given by school vaccination teams when your child is in junior infants. Parents are encouraged to check that their children’s vaccines are up-to-date. If your child has missed either or both of their MMR vaccines, please contact your GP practice to arrange a catch-up vaccine. Uptake of both doses of MMR vaccine has been below 90% for some time which is of great concern because of the serious and infectious nature of measles. We therefore urge all families to take up the offer of vaccine now for their children. It is not too late to be vaccinated.

Serious complications of measles include pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain); one in five infected may need to go to hospital and it can be fatal.

Measles outbreaks in UK & Europe
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported a resurgence of measles in England in 2023 particularly in the West Midlands and London, however all regions of England have reported cases. The latest information on the epidemiology of the current UKHSA national measles incident is available.

There are increases in cases of measles also reported in several other European countries including Romania and Austria.

People travelling to these countries should check that they are up to date with their MMR. Babies travelling to areas with outbreaks of measles may receive a dose of MMR vaccine from the age of six months, but they still require another MMR vaccine over the age of 12 months for continued protection.

Further information about vaccination is available at