The HSE and a high-profile Letterkenny doctor is urging people to get vaccinated against measles amid fears of an outbreak.

Measles is a viral illness that is highly contagious and is spread easily.

Dr Jim McDaid, a former Government minister, has told today's Letterkenny Post – a sister publication of Donegal Now - that there is a concern that the measles virus is again raising “its ugly head”.

Officials at the Health Service Executive has also issued a statement to the Post to warn that measles can “result in death and brain damage” and warns “we could have an outbreak” due to falling immunisation rates.

Dr McDaid’s warning follows recent revelations by the World Health Organization about the risks in Ireland and across Europe of measles – which used to be a deadly killer, claiming the lives of 2.6m people a year globally.

Dr Jim McDaid.

WHO is now claiming that measles is back with a vengeance and “has rebounded in the WHO European Region” with a 400 per cent rise in the number of measles across Europe in the past year.

There have been outbreaks in areas of Limerick and Dublin in recent weeks and Letterkenny-based Dr McDaid believes Donegal must remain vigilant.

He told The Post: “It’s always a concern and it’s a concern right now. We are trying to keep ahead, but it returns from time to time.

“People do tend to worry when they hear about measles. When it starts, it’s usually in response to some laxity; a time when people haven’t been vaccinated.

“There is no problem with measles in Donegal now, as far as I know, but measles is raising its ugly head again.

“It is a very severe illness. I haven’t had a case yet, but there’s no doubt there could be an outbreak. Our advice is to get immunised. Not just children, but adults as well.”

The HSE said: “Immunisation rates have fallen and therefore if measles arrives in the North West, we could have an outbreak.”

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