Following on from the tragic death of a man who contracted Measles in County Westmeath, the Irish Independent have released data detailing the counties with the highest risk of becoming hotspots for the disease.

Counties Louth and Meath are the lowest counties for the number of people who have received a jab to protect them against the disease, with the vaccination rate at around 80%.

These figures show vaccine numbers for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab in children at the age of two since the late 1990s – bearing in mind that coverage must be at around 95% to prevent outbreaks of the disease.

Sligo and Donegal are listed as counties where the rates have dropped to between 80 and 84%.

Counties in the 85 to 89% bracket for vaccination include Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Kilkenny, Carlow, Cavan, Monaghan and Dublin.

Other counties have rates of between 90 and 94%.

Locally, according to the Mayo News, the uptake in the Mayo, Galway and Roscommon region is below target (as per Q2 2023) but is in the upper bracket at 92.9%.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a target vaccination rate of 95%.

There were suspected cases found last week among children in Leinster (Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow) and Munster (Clare, Limerick and Tipperary).

There are serious complications that can arise from the measles disease, particularly in children under a year, as well as pregnant women.

Signs and symptoms of the disease include:

  • Cold-like symptoms – aches and pains, runny nose, sneezing, coughing.
  • Sore red eyes that may be sensitive to light.
  • Temperature above 38 degrees.
  • Small spots in the mouth (grey/ white in colour).
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Irritability and general lack of energy.
  • A rash may also appear two to four days after the first symptoms. This can come on the head and neck first before spreading to the rest of the body.

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