Public Health Alert Issued Following Confirmed Measles Case In Midlands

The Health Service is advising anyone who may have been exposed to the virus to be aware of the symptoms.

The HSE says it doesn't expect to identify more close contacts, after it issued a public health alert warning some people may have been exposed to measles.

People who may be affected are those who were on the Bus Éireann 115 Dublin to Mullingar route between January 30th and February 5th, or anyone who was in a restaurant in Mullingar Business Park on the 29th of January, between 2pm and 4.30pm.

It follows the death of a man who had contracted measles in the Dublin and Midlands Health Region - the first death from the disease here in over twenty years. 

However, Specialist in Public Health Medicine with the HSE, Dr. Ruth McDermott, says the chance of more cases arising from these settings is low:

The HSE has issued the following advice to anyone who may be affected:

Be aware of signs and symptoms of measles for 21 days from the time of possible exposure.

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can cause serious complications, particularly in children under one year of age, pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed. If you are in one of these groups, please seek advice from your GP.

If you travelled on the bus route or attended a restaurant in Mullingar Business Park during the dates and times above, it is especially important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles, which include:

·        Cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and a cough

·        Sore red eyes

·        A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above

·        Rash, which usually appears on head and neck first and spreads to rest of body

If you have these symptoms, please seek medical advice. Phone ahead prior to attending any healthcare setting to let them know that you have these symptoms, so they can make necessary arrangements.

It's also asking people to ensure they're vaccinated.

The Health Service says If you're not vaccinated against measles with two doses of MMR, please contact your GP as soon as possible during normal working hours to discuss whether you require vaccination.

If you were born in Ireland before 1978 or had measles illness, you are unlikely to require vaccination, as you are probably immune.

The best way to protect yourself and those around you against measles is by MMR vaccination. This can be arranged with your GP.

Children should receive their first dose of MMR vaccine at one year of age and a second dose in junior infants at 4-5 years of age.

There is also a free catch-up MMR option via participating GPs for those who may have missed their vaccination when younger.

It comes after the Health Protection Surveillance Centre said there have been nine cases of suspected measles reported in Ireland as of last week.

Three suspected cases of the virus were reported in the midlands between January 28th and February 3rd.

Another three were in the Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow area, while the remaining two were in the Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary region.

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