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Adult dies in Ireland after contracting measles

An adult who had contracted measles has died in a hospital in Ireland, the country's health service executive (HSE) has said.

It is the first confirmed measles case in Ireland in 2024.

There were four measles cases reported in the country in 2023 and two in 2022.

While no cases were reported in 2021, there were five recorded in 2020, the HSE said, with no deaths reported in any of those years.

The adult died in a hospital in the Dublin and Midlands health region.

Read more: What are the symptoms of measles?

"HSE public health teams, along with the HSE measles national incident management team (IMT), are taking all necessary public health actions in relation to the case," the HSE said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The HSE measles IMT was established in response to a recent rise in measles cases in the UK and Europe.

"The HSE will keep the public informed of further measures and, in the meantime, anyone with concerns should contact their GP."

It comes after the World Health Organization warned of an "alarming" rise in cases across Europe.

Suspected cases of the disease have also been on the rise in England.

Last week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said an ongoing measles outbreak in the West Midlands "remains a concern".

It said 127 cases of the disease were confirmed across England in January, with 347 laboratory-confirmed measles cases reported in England since 1 October last year. In comparison, just 53 cases were confirmed in all of 2022.

Three quarters - or 260 - of these cases were in the West Midlands, while 46 (13%) were in London and 24 (7%) in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, UKHSA's consultant epidemiologist, said: "MMR vaccine coverage has been falling for the last decade with one out of 10 children starting school in England not protected and so there is a real risk that this outbreak could spread to other towns and cities.

"Measles is a nasty illness for most children and for some can be serious, but it is completely preventable."

There were 1,603 suspected cases of measles in England and Wales in 2023, UKHSA statistics showed earlier this year.

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. The NHS says some people may also get small spots in their mouth.