Health

Five red flag signs of measles you should not ignore as man dies of illness

A man in Ireland has died of measles amid a concerning outbreak of the illness throughout Europe and the UK.

According to reports, the patient tragically died in a hospital in the Dublin and Midlands health region but they haven’t yet been identified.

Following the death, Ireland’s health minister Stephen Donnelly has warned that the country is at risk of a potentially deadly outbreak and urged parents to get their children vaccinated.

Announcing the death, the nation’s Health Service Executive (HSE) said: “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 measles IMT was established in response to a recent rise in measles cases in the UK and Europe.”

Earlier this year, the UK saw its biggest outbreak of the Victorian disease since the 1990s.

A national incident was declared after over 300 measles cases were confirmed in the West Midlands since October, with health chiefs warning things could only get worse.

Around 80 percent of the cases were in Birmingham and it followed a dip in MMR vaccine take up over the pandemic.

Across the whole of England, there were 347 laboratory confirmed measles cases reported from October 2023, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

A total of 127 of these cases were confirmed in January 2024.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can lead to serious health complications including pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and seizures.

It spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools.

Children who contract the disease can become very unwell and, in some cases, measles can lead to hospitalisation and, in rare cases, death.

People in certain at-risk groups, including babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications from measles.

Many people are aware of one of the most obvious signs – the rash.

According to the NHS, there are five other key symptoms to keep an eye out, which could be initially mistaken for a cold or flu:

  • A high temperature
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • A cough
  • Red, sore, watery eyes.

Aside from the five things to be aware of, one of the two most distinctive symptoms are small white spots in the mouth that appear on the cheeks and back of the lips, before a rash appears, usually a few days after the cold-like symptoms, the NHS warns.

The health body said that this starts on the face and behind the ears, before spreading to the rest of the body.

The rash is often more difficult to see on brown or black skin.

Measles was declared eliminated in the UK in 2017 by the World Health Organisation.

The recent outbreak has been attributed mainly to declining rates of vaccination.


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