A measles outbreak has been declared in Donegal today following two confirmed cases.

The outbreak has been linked to a third level institution in Galway.

The HSE has urged the public to be aware of the symptoms and exercise caution to prevent further infections.

Measles infection typically causes a rash, fever, conjunctivitis (red eyes),  cough or runny nose.  The rash usually starts four days after the other symptoms.

The rash starts on the forehead, spreads behind the ears and then down the trunk.

Measles infection can have serious complications such as pneumonia, seizures and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). 1-2 people out of every 1,000 who become infected with measles will die.

The HSE said: “Measles is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or through the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes.  If you suspect that you or your child has symptoms of measles, please call your GP and inform them.

“It is important that you do not visit your GP without first letting him or her know that you or your child may have measles. This is because you might be infectious to others at the GP surgery. Your GP will be able to make special arrangements for you to come in and see him or her and do tests to confirm your diagnosis.”

To prevent further infections, people who are diagnosed with measles are advised to stay away from school, college, work, and public places for four days following the onset of their rash.

“The best way to prevent measles infection is with 2 doses of the MMR vaccine,” said a HSE spokesperson. Anyone born since 1978 who is unsure if they have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine, such as MMR, should speak with their GP.

For more information on measles please see http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/VaccinePreventable/Measles/