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GPs and hospitals in Donegal put on measles alert

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

GPs and hospitals in Donegal put on measles alert

A measles alert has been sent to all emergency departments, paediatricians and general practitioners (GPs) in the country to raise their awareness of the infectious disease.  

Five cases of measles have been confirmed in east of the country. Outbreak Control Teams have been tasked to investigate and control the spread of this serious illness.  

All people identified as contacts of the measles cases are being notified and advised of the risks.

The source of measles has not yet been identified.  

None of the reported cases have had the MMR vaccine.   

The HSE said today the best protection against measles is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine.

If you have symptoms suggestive of measles you should stay at home, not go to school or work and phone your GP and explain that you may have measles.

People who have not been fully vaccinated with MMR vaccine or have not had measles in the past are at high risk of getting measles if exposed. Those most at risk of catching measles are those who are not fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine such as babies younger than 12 months who are too young to be vaccinated, and those with weakened immune systems.   

Dr Anthony Breslin, Specialist in Communicable Disease and Environmental Health, said: “Measles can be a serious illness and is highly contagious. The best protection is to be fully vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR vaccine.”

Measles is highly contagious and is spread easily.  The time between exposure to measles and developing the rash is usually 14 days (range 7-21 days). People are infectious from four days before rash starts until 4 days after.

Measles symptoms include: high fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes.  

Another symptom is a red rash that starts on the head and spread down the body which normally starts a few days after onset of illness.

The rash consists of flat red or brown blotches, which can flow into each other. It lasts about four to seven days.

Vomiting, diarrhoea and tummy pain may also occur.

The HSE has advised that all children should get MMR at 12 months of age and the second dose at four to five years of age.

If your child missed their scheduled MMR vaccine dose you should contact your GP to get the age-appropriate dose.

If you are an adult born since 1978 and have not received two doses of MMR you should contact your GP to get the MMR vaccine.

Anyone who develops measles symptoms should stay at home and phone your GP, tell the doctor or nurse that you think you might have measles and stop visitors coming to the house to prevent spreading the infection

Measles is a notifiable disease and GPs and hospital clinicians should immediately notify the North West Public Health Medicine Department if they suspect someone has measles.

More information on measles is located at: http://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/vaccinepreventable/measles/factsheet/