Measles: First case of illness in Northern Ireland for seven years is confirmed as health agency calls on people to get MMR vaccine

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​The first case of measles in Northern Ireland since 2017 has been confirmed.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) said close contacts have been notified and all appropriate public health actions are being undertaken.

The PHA is urging children and young adults who have not received both doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to do so.

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The agency recently activated a mass vaccination drive in collaboration with health trusts and GP surgeries for all those aged between 12 months and 25 years who missed getting one or both of their MMR vaccines first time round.

The skin rash caused by measles.The skin rash caused by measles.
The skin rash caused by measles.

A death from measles was reported in the Republic of Ireland earlier this month.

Dr Joanne McClean, director of public health at the PHA, said: "Identification of a case of measles in Northern Ireland was not unexpected, as we have seen a significant rise in cases in England and across Europe.

"However, in order to help prevent any additional cases here and possible outbreaks, it is vital that those who have not had their two doses of the MMR vaccine to act now and reduce the risks from this highly contagious and potentially deadly disease.

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"We have seen a decrease in the numbers of children receiving the MMR vaccines.

"It is therefore important that children and young adults get any missed MMR vaccines as soon as possible.

"If you are unsure if your child or you have received the two doses of the MMR vaccine, check the 'red book' or contact your GP practice to find out."

The vaccination catch-up programme that is currently under way in Northern Ireland offers first and second doses of the MMR to anyone aged between 12 months and 25 years who missed getting the vaccines first time around.

Those who have never received any doses of MMR vaccine should book early to allow one month between dose one and dose two before the end of March.