Date: Sat 29 Dec 2018
Source: Osburn Oracle [abridged, edited]
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is dealing with a measles outbreak in Dublin's North Inner City, which has seen 13 cases in both children and adults since July this year .
The organisation said the transmission of the disease has occurred in hospitals and homes in Dublin due to "poor vaccine uptake" and has urged the public to vaccinate themselves against the virus.
The Department of Public Health has notified all emergency departments and GPs in Wicklow, Dublin, and Kildare of the outbreak and has sent them additional information on the disease.
The Dublin outbreak comes in light of an ongoing measles outbreak in Europe, with 31 people across the continent succumbing to the disease in 2018. Most of the cases in the EU in 2018 were reported in Romania, France, Greece, and Italy.
This week, Irish holidaymakers were warned to take precautions as new WHO figures revealed that European cases of measles this year  reached an 8-year high. The number of cases of the highly infectious disease during 2018 have already outstripped any year since 2010.
The HSE has warned that most people who contract measles while on holidays do not know they were exposed to the virus until they develop the disease. They have identified airports, planes, and concerts as areas where an unrecognised exposure to the measles virus can occur.
Date: Sun 30 Dec 2018
Source: The Journal [abridged, edited]
The number of reported measles cases in Ireland more than trebled this year. Seven in 10 of the confirmed cases involved people who were not vaccinated.
There were 85 reported cases as of 17 Dec , up from just 25 for the whole of 2017. The majority of these cases -- 73 -- were confirmed, while 12 were deemed to be probable or possible cases. The last confirmed case was in October . Seven in 10 of the confirmed cases (51; 69%) involved people who were not vaccinated.
When taking into consideration only confirmed cases among people aged 12 months and older (all of whom are eligible for vaccination as part of the national programme), there were 64 cases, of whom 43 individuals were not vaccinated (67%).
Males accounted for 53 of the confirmed cases, while 32 females were affected. Children aged 4 and under were the group most affected, with 24 cases. There were 13 cases among people aged 15-19 years and 11 cases among both the 20-24 and 35-44 age groups.
The HSE released a number of warnings about the condition during the year  after a spike in reported cases.
The majority of the cases this year  involved onward transmission in hospital and community sessions (that is, the condition spreading after a person with measles came into contact with others).
At least 5 of the 85 cases were related to people returning to Ireland after being exposed to a person with measles while abroad.
The rate of measles infections across Europe reached a record high this year : more than 41 000 children and adults were infected with measles in the 1st 6 months of 2018, according to the World Health Organization.
There have been 72 measles-related deaths in Europe this year , twice as many as in 2017, but none in Ireland.
Here's a geographical breakdown of where the measles cases occurred here:
There were no confirmed cases in the midlands.
Dr Suzanne Cotter, specialist in public health medicine at the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), said the worst outbreak originated in the midwest after a person who had been exposed to measles abroad returned to Ireland.
She said this particular case "resulted in a very large outbreak," which spread to the west and southeast following onward transmission in community and healthcare settings. "Not being vaccinated is the main risk factor," Cotter said. She said there is "a certain amount of vaccine-hesitancy" among some groups, due in part to misinformation being spread about vaccines. [See URL above for advice from the Department of Health in relation to the MMR vaccine. - ProMED Mod.LK] In recent years, the uptake rate for the MMR vaccine has remained quite stable. The uptake rate among children aged 24 months was 92% in the 2nd quarter of 2018, unchanged from the same period last year . Cotter said these figures are "good but not good enough," adding that the goal is to reach at least 95%.
Cotter said many of the adults who contracted measles "assumed they were immune" but "didn't know if they had measles as a child or didn't know if they had the vaccine." "People frequently don't have their vaccine records; there was no automated system in previous decades," she said. Cotter said some people's parents "chose to delay vaccination years ago and then completely forgot about it," adding that "Those individuals are really hard to identify." She noted that some individuals may have intended to get the vaccine but genuinely forgot and have the attitude of, "I've survived this long without having measles; do I need to worry about it now?" A substantial proportion of individuals with measles were hospitalised this year . It's not a mild illness and can be quite severe.