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Unvaccinated urged to act after fourth measles case

A fourth case of measles has been confirmed in Ireland, the Health Service Executive has said, as it appealed to people who believe they may not be vaccinated against the disease to come forward.

The number of confirmed cases this year now compares with the total seen in 2023.

The HSE said that due to the ongoing outbreaks in the UK and across Europe, there is a heightened awareness of measles among clinicians in Ireland.

It is finalising plans for the broader rollout of a proactive MMR vaccine catch-up programme in response to a rise in measles 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.

HSE’s Dr Lucy Jessop said that more measles cases may be confirmed (File pic:

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.

“The people that should get that vaccine, are those we know may be undervaccinated, maybe missed a vaccine when they were children,” she told RTÉ’s News at One.

“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.”

Dr Jessop said details of the broader rollout of a proactive MMR vaccine catch-up programme are due to be published on Tuesday.

Health officials, she added, were aware that more cases may be confirmed in Ireland over the coming weeks, in line with increasing cases across Europe.

On Tuesday, a measles case was confirmed on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Dublin.

Dr Jessop said an alert had been issued in relation to the flight and the HSE has “been working with the airline around that and raising awareness with those passengers for the signs and symptoms of measles”.

She added: “If anyone was a passenger on that flight, advice has been given and it’s very important to make contact with public health if they’re in a particular risk group – babies under one, pregnant women and those who are immunocompromised.”

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