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Measles update

Measles Clinic 18 April 2024

The EU/EEA area has already seen more measles cases in the first three months of 2024, than in the entire of 2022. The HSE is taking every action to prevent an outbreak in Ireland. A drop-in clinic will take place in NCI on Thursday morning ,18 April, to allow anyone who is not already vaccinated to ‘catch up’ on your measles vaccine.

The measles vaccine is safe and long-lasting. In Ireland, the measles vaccine is generally administered during childhood, along with vaccines for mumps and rubella: this is known as the MMR. The MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that will protect you from these very infectious, potentially serious diseases.

If you're not sure that you've been fully vaccinated, you should get vaccinated. The MMR vaccine is safe, and there is no harm in getting another dose, even if you may already be immune to measles, mumps, or rubella.

95% vaccine uptake is required to protect the population. MMR vaccine uptake in Ireland is currently below that figure. It is estimated that more than 10% of adults aged 18-34 - including nearly 20% of males aged 18-19 years – did not complete their MMR vaccinations.

When you attend for your vaccination, the clinician will check with you to ensure you are not pregnant or that there is no other reason you should not take the vaccine.

What is measles?

Measles is an acute, airborne viral disease. Read HSE information on Measles

Measles is a notifiable disease, which means you must let your GP know if you have measles, so they can inform the Health services. If you do not already have a GP, please note that there is no fee for NCI students to register as a patient at Hanover Medical.

Measles is highly infectious. It is estimated that 90% of non-immune people who make contact with measles will become infected. The measles vaccine is highly effective and has saved millions of people from sickness, acquired disability, and death, since its development in 1962.

Early symptoms of Measles may feel like the onset of a cold: cough, fever, runny nose, sore eyes. It can take a few days for the measles rash to develop - white spots may develop in your mouth before you see a rash on your body – a person with measles is considered contagious from about 5 days BEFORE the rash develops until about 4 days after it has appeared.

Even a straightforward case of measles is very sickening, including high fever, rash, fatigue, sore eyes, aches and pains, etc. lasting around 7-10 days. Common complications include middle ear infections, conjunctivitis, diarrhoea and vomiting. More serious complications are rare, but include blindness, encephalitis and pneumonia. Measles can be life-threatening. There has been one death to date from measles in Ireland in 2024. Measles also generally weakens the immune system and can make the body “forget” how to protect itself, even against infections it previously fought-off. The most effective way to protect yourself from measles is to get vaccinated. 

If you think you have measles or if you have been in contact with measles, phone your GP, do not attend the waiting room in person. Follow your GP's advice.

Reminder: if you do not already have a GP, there is no fee for NCI students to register as a patient at Hanover Medical.