HSE tight lipped on the location of rubella case

HSE tight lipped on the location of rubella case
Photo Illustration by George Frey/Getty Images

THE HSE has remained tight-lipped as to the location of Ireland’s first rubella case in more than a decade.

It was revealed last week that a person in Ireland has been diagnosed with rubella for the first time in 11 years.

However, as there is just one case, the HSE said it cannot reveal where the person actually presented with the illness.

“As it is, [for less than five] cases we cannot give any other detail for confidentiality reasons,” a spokesperson explained.

A Cork GP and a representative on the Cork HSE Immunisation Steering Group said the new case highlights the importance of vaccination.

The Department of Public Health was notified in recent weeks about a confirmed case of rubella, which was contracted in another country.

Rubella is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus, according to the HSE, and it can cause a fever of 38ºC or over, and a distinctive red-pink rash.

In most cases, rubella is a mild condition, but it can be serious in pregnant women as it can harm the unborn baby.

“This case demonstrates the importance again of vaccination,” said Dr Nick Flynn of MyCorkGP.ie and Union Quay clinic, pointing to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

Dr Flynn also highlighted an increase in mumps cases.

“We are in the middle of a mumps outbreak - I’m currently diagnosing two to three cases of mumps per week,” he added.

“If people are vulnerable to mumps infection they are also vulnerable to measles and rubella.

“This first case of rubella in 10 years is extremely worrying even though this is an imported case,” he said.

“When you look at mumps at the moment you’d have to be worried regarding the possibility of a rubella and even a measles outbreak.” 

Dr Flynn encouraged people to attend their GP if they do not have all doses of the necessary doses of the MMR vaccine.

“There is currently an MMR vaccine outbreak vaccination programme,” he explained.

“All patients between 10 and 30 can attend their GP for a booster vaccination for MMR which will help protect against measles, mumps and rubella.” Individuals with rubella are most infectious from one week before to one week after the onset of the rash.

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