Whooping Cough Rising along with Three New Cases of Measles

Whooping Cough

Last week in Ireland, three confirmed cases of measles were reported, with an additional five potential cases of the highly contagious virus currently under investigation. To date, five cases have been officially confirmed this year, one of which resulted in a fatality. This news coincides with a rise in cases of whooping cough.

The measles cases identified last week, both confirmed and possible, were scattered across the eastern, south-eastern, and western regions of the country. Among those affected were children aged nine and under, as well as individuals between the ages of 25 and 44. Notably, two cases involved passengers from flights, including one individual on a Ryanair flight from Paphos, Cyprus, to Dublin on March 7th.

To combat the spread of measles, a catch-up vaccination program is currently being implemented by general practitioners (GPs) and the Health Service Executive (HSE), with clinics set up in various locations including tertiary-level educational institutions.

Simultaneously, cases of whooping cough have also seen an uptick this year, with four confirmed cases and two probable cases reported last week alone. In the first 11 weeks of this year, there have been a total of 24 confirmed or suspected cases of whooping cough, a notable increase compared to the same period last year when no cases were reported.

Additionally, a recent report on tuberculosis (TB) in Ireland from the previous year indicates a slight rise in cases, though it remains slightly below pre-pandemic levels. Despite an overall declining trend, the number of reported TB cases surpasses the projected number required to achieve the end-TB target. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) reported 224 cases of TB last year, compared to 208 in 2022. The highest increase was observed in Dublin and the north-east, nearing pre-pandemic levels. TB rates are highest among those aged 25 to 34 and lowest among individuals under 15.

While TB rates among individuals aged 65 and older declined between 2020 and 2022, they increased last year. Rates are notably higher among individuals born outside Ireland, with over six in 10 positive TB cases occurring in this demographic. Among those born in Ireland, TB rates were highest among individuals aged 65 and older. The percentage of TB cases coexisting with HIV remains low, although HIV status was not available for over half of the reported cases.

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