HSE issue urgent measles alert to patients who attended emergency department of busy Irish hospital last month

HSE issue urgent measles alert to patients who attended emergency department of busy Irish hospital last month
HSE issue urgent measles alert to patients who attended emergency department of busy Irish hospital last month

THE HSE has issued an urgent public health alert for those who were at an Irish emergency department last month.

The health experts have warned that patients who attended could have been potentially exposed to the virus.

Measles is a disease that can spread easilyCredit: Getty Images – Getty

The alert is aimed at anyone who was at the ED of Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise on April 26, 28 and 29.

The warning is for those who were there to be aware they may have come in contact with measles.

The HSE is now advising anyone who attended the department from 1pm to 6pm on April 26 or between 2.40pm on April 28 and 6pm on April 29 to be aware they were potentially exposed to the virus.

Health chiefs are reminding the public that they should be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles for 21 days following the point of contact.

They are also urging the general public to ensure they have gotten the jab against the virus.

Symptoms of the virus include a runny nose, a cough, sneezing, sore and red eyes, and a temperature of 38C or higher or and small, gray-white spots inside your mouth.

These symptoms develop about 10 days after a person gets infected.

They are then followed by a rash that typically begins on the head or neck and gradually spreads elsewhere.

Anyone with symptoms of measles should isolate themselves from others and seek medical advice.

The HSE has also urged anyone who has yet to receive the two jabs of the MMR vaccine to contact their GP to set up an appointment.

Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer urges MMR vaccine uptake after death

They also urged that parents should have their children receive the first dose at one year of age and the second when they are in junior infants.

The health service also noted that anyone born in or before 1978 or has had measles before in their life is likely immune to the virus – as is someone with the vaccine.

Children under 12 months, pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Serious complications of measles can result in pneumonia or encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

Measles symptoms

The HSE are urging the public to be on the lookout for the following lesser-known symptoms:

  • 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 38 degrees Celsius or above (fever), which can reach around 40 degrees Celsius
  • small greyish-white spots in your mouth
  • tiredness and lack of energy

One in five people infected may be hospitalized and it can be fatal.

Anyone with these symptoms is urged to get medical advice and to phone ahead before attending a healthcare facility.

The HSE has also advised people to ensure they are up to date with their vaccinations.

Catch up vaccine

A MMR “catch up” vaccine program has been rolled out.

It’s available for children, young adults and health care workers who may have missed their vaccines.

Read more on the Irish Sun

Specific groups including students and young people in education settings, underserved groups including refugees, applicants seeking protection and other minority groups can apply.

For more information about measles see the HSE’s website.

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