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Children's health

12th Mar 2024

Chief Medical Officer confirms third case of measles in Ireland

Jody Coffey

A third person has been confirmed with measles in Ireland

The news was confirmed by Chief Medical Officer Breda Smyth, who is urging people to avail of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

While Ireland’s documented cases of measles have remained low, there have been outbreaks across Europe, sparking concerns that the disease could spread here.

According to the World Health Organisation, around 95 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated against measles to achieve herd immunity.

Echoing the goal of herd immunity against measles, CMO Smyth is urging the public to avail of the MMR vaccine catch-up programme.

“By having that 95% uptake of the vaccine, we are protecting the vulnerable in our population,” she told Newstalk.

“So, yes I am concerned about it, I would urge everyone to come out and if they are being invited to have a vaccine, to take up that offer.” 

According to the HSE, measles is a highly infectious viral illness, which in severe cases can prove fatal.

There are several serious complications associated with the disease – including pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain) – and one in five people who contract it need to be admitted to the hospital.

The measles start with cold-like symptoms followed by a rash and the illness usually lasts between a week and 10 days.

Symptoms can include aches and pains, a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough.

If a person has sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light it could also be an indication that they have contracted the virus.

Someone may also have the disease if they record a temperature of 38C or above.

The HSE recommends those who have not received the vaccine to make an appointment through their GP to get one.