Health warning issued after measles outbreak confirmed in one Irish county
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Health warning issued after measles outbreak confirmed in one Irish county

PEOPLE in Ireland are being urged to get vaccinated against measles after an outbreak of the virus in the mid-west.

The Health Service Executive is urging adults under 40 to get the MMR vaccine.

It said those who work with children, in healthcare and education as well as those working in public offices or services in particular should check with their GP if they are vaccinated.

"Measles is a serious public health issue," the HSE said in a statement. "It is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 per cent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected."

The health warning comes as 25 cases of measles were confirmed in the mid-west since January 1.

The majority were in Limerick City and one was in Clare but linked to Limerick.

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Half of those with the illness were hospitalised, with two-thirds of patients aged between 15 and 40 years.

Measles is spread easily through coughing and sneezing.

"Measles can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain and can, in rare cases, lead to a fatal disease of the brain which develops years after the infection," the HSE added.

"The mortality rate from measles infection is 1-2 per 1,000 cases. This measles outbreak is continuing because we do not have herd immunity – i.e. the proportion of the population immune to measles is less than 95 per cent."

The measles vaccine was first introduced in Ireland in 1985, and the MMR three years later.