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Fifth case of measles confirmed in Ireland

A fifth case of measles has been confirmed in Ireland by the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

No further details have been provided by the health authorities.

The Health Service Executive’s planned measles catch up vaccination programme for around 300,000 people is due to be launched next week, given the rise in cases in the UK and Europe.

The HSE said it is important to note that it already offers the MMR vaccine to protect against measles to all children as part of its childhood immunisation schedule for those aged 12 months and four to five years old in Junior Infants.

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

Professor of Experimental Immunology Kingston Mills said the MMR vaccine has 97% efficacy, making it one of the most effective vaccines.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Prof Mill said there is currently an uptake of just under 90% of the MMR vaccine in Ireland, but people who have not had the vaccine but who have had measles are also immune.

For people who have not been been vaccinated and are “vulnerable” are likely to get measles if they come into contact with someone who has it.

He said those most at risk are the very young, under the age of one, pregnant women and people who are immuno-compromised.

Yesterday, Director of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office Dr Lucy Jessop urged people who think they may not be vaccinated against measles to come forward.

She said: “We know from various studies that adults under the age of 25 may have missed out in the past.

“If you were born in Ireland before 1978, there was a lot of measles circulating and you were likely to be infected, so those people don’t necessarily have to come forward for an MMR.

“If they’re a healthcare worker it’s recommended they still come forward, if you weren’t born in Ireland you might well need to come forward.

“We would encourage anyone who is not sure to speak to their GP.”

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