Parents urged to vaccinate kids as Ireland's first rubella case in a decade confirmed
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Parents urged to vaccinate kids as Ireland's first rubella case in a decade confirmed

IRISH PARENTS have again been urged to ensure they vaccinate their children after Ireland's first case of rubella in over a decade was confirmed in Cork.

Apple, one of Cork's biggest employers, yesterday confirmed to RTÉ News that one of their employees had been diagnosed with the virus.

The employee, who has not been identified due to patient confidentiality, was based in Apple's Hollyhill campus, where thousands of Apple workers are employed.

A letter from Apple reassuring its staff, seen by RTÉ, states:

"Our employees' health and wellbeing is our top priority, and we want to ensure all members of the local team are aware of the situation and the resources available to you.

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"The possibility of contracting rubella is low, and most cases are mild."

Ireland has not seen a confirmed case of acute rubella since 2009, and in 2016 the World Health Organisation announced that Ireland was considered free of endemic rubella.

However, a drop in children receiving the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine as infants means that cases are on the rise.

Cork-based GP Dr Nick Flynn, speaking to local outlet Echo Live, says he is dealing with two or three cases of mumps each week, and that "there's no reason we couldn't see a similar outbreak of rubella".

“The key message to get out there is to encourage parents to vaccinate their children as herd immunity is crucial,” he told the outlet.

The infectious virus causes a high fever, swollen glands and a pink-red rash not dissimilar to measles.  The rash lasts about three days but the virus is contagious for up to 7 days before the rash appears.

While rubella is considered mild in comparison to measles it can be serious if contracted by pregnant women as it can harm unborn children and cause miscarriages.

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The HSE are also encouraging anyone born after 1978 who was never vaccinated to contact their GP where they can receive the MMR vaccination free of charge.

For more information on the rubella virus, you can visit the HSE website here.