Measles outbreak continues in County Cork, Ireland
At the beginning of June, the Health Service Executive, Ireland's public health service, reported 51 confirmed cases of the illness. The HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Center said that there have been 101 measles cases reported nationally during the current outbreak, which prompted a national vaccination campaign, according to IrishHealth.com.
Four children have been hospitalized to date. The outbreak initially affected mainly unvaccinated teenagers, but there is evidence that it is spreading to children in younger age groups. The HSE is reminding parents to ensure that their children are properly vaccinated.
The MMR vaccine, which protects against the measles, can be given to children at the age of one year. A second dose is generally given at four or five years of age.
The HPSC said that the outbreak in County Cork is linked to low vaccination rates in the area, which stem from a reluctance of parents to have their children vaccinated. The HSE fears the illness will spread to other areas of the country unless more children are administered the vaccine.
The West Cork region of County Cork, where the outbreak is centered, is considered to have the lowest uptake of the MMR vaccine in Ireland with 86 percent coverage in comparison to the national average of 92 percent, according to IrishExaminer.com.