Measles outbreak declared in NI

Published Wednesday, 12 December 2012
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An outbreak of measles has been declared, as four young people have contracted the infectious disease in south Belfast over the past week.

Measles outbreak declared in NI
Uptake of the MMR injection in NI has gradually increased in recent years. (© Getty)

Parents whose children have not had MMR (measles mumps and rubella) injected have been urged to get them vaccinated.

Dr Richard Smithson from the Public Health Agency said, "In Northern Ireland we have had high uptake levels for MMR immunisation, which is why we have generally seen very few cases of measles here compared with the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

"However, cases which have occurred here in unvaccinated people are of serious concern and remind us that there is no room for complacency."

Measles can cause a temperature of over 40°C and a red-brown spotty rash that can last up to eight days.

The rash usually starts behind the ears but spreads across the body and the spots often join together.

Emergency department staff and GPs have been made aware of the outbreak and advised to be on the lookout for patients with the infection.

Dr Smithson said people who have been exposed to measles and feel unwell should stay at home.

"This is an infectious condition even before the associated rash develops. If medical advice is needed, then they should phone the GP or out-of-hours service so that arrangements can be made to see the patient without putting others at risk," he explained.

Just over 90% of children in NI have had two doses of MMR by the age of five, which is below the World Health Organisation guidelines of 95%.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
maggie in belfast wrote (775 days ago):
please vaccinate your children
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