A man in his 40s has died from measles in the first case reported this year.
The HSE has said public health teams are taking all necessary steps following the death at a hospital in the Dublin and Midlands health region.
A HSE Measles National Incident Management Team had already been established in response to a recent rise in measles cases in Europe - particularly Romania, France and Austria - and in the UK.
The Chief Medical Officer says she's very concerned the country is at high risk of a measles outbreak.
Professor Breda Smyth says vaccination rates have fallen below 90 per cent and 80 per cent in some areas and a vaccination rate of 95% is needed to be effective.
Vaccination rates are mixed across the country with south and west of Dublin at 94%, while in Louth and Meath the rate stands at 80%.
There has been a confirmed death of an adult in Ireland linked to measles infection. We need to prevent as many cases, serious illnesses and deaths as possible. Please get your MMR vaccine. See https://t.co/kQT8OUIL48 pic.twitter.com/wYCXvShlhH
— Chief Medical Officer (@CMOIreland) February 7, 2024
Measles is a highly contagious, serious airborne disease that can spread easily through respiratory droplets.
It spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The disease can affect anyone but is most common in children.
Symptoms can include a high fever, cough, runny nose and a rash all over the body.
The first symptoms of measles are:
- cold-like symptoms such as aches and pains, a runny nose, sneezing and a cough
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a temperature of 38C or above, which may reach around 40C
- small greyish-white spots in your mouth
- loss of appetite
- tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy
Anyone concerned is asked to contact their GP.
Last year Ireland had four cases linked to a single family event.
The WHO recommends children should receive two doses of the vaccine to ensure they are immune.