HSE takes 'precautionary steps' after Cork rubella case confirmed

HSE takes 'precautionary steps' after Cork rubella case confirmed
Pic: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The HSE has taken “precautionary steps” to alert people who may have come into contact with the rubella virus in Cork, it has confirmed.

The Echo revealed on Tuesday that the first confirmed case of rubella in Ireland in more than a decade had been discovered in a person who works at the Apple campus in Hollyhill, Cork.

The Echo has seen an email sent to staff at the Apple Campus in Hollyhill, Cork city, that confirms the case was discovered there.

While the HSE has refused to confirm that the exact location of the person with the illness, the HSE South confirmed that it was notified of the case of rubella in recent weeks.

The HSE said it has alerted anyone who may have been in contact with the individual who presented with the illness, and that it is in contact with GPs in the area.

“The HSE cannot comment on the specifics of the case, as we have a duty to protect the privacy of the person affected,” a spokesperson said.

“We will not make any comment that could identify the individual involved.

“However, we can confirm that all precautionary steps have been taken to alert anyone who may have been in contact with the individual,” they added.

“The Department of Public Health, HSE South has been in touch with GPs in the area.

“GPs in the area have been asked for their support in maintaining increased surveillance, and also to encourage any non-vaccinated individuals born after 1978 (less than 42 years of age) to get the MMR vaccine.

“The vaccine is free of charge, and available from your GP.” Dr Augustine Pereira, Director of Public Health, HSE South advised that the best protection from rubella is the MMR vaccine.

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, who is a representative on the Cork HSE Immunisation Steering Group, 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 more than 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.”

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