Why are measles cases on the rise and who is most at risk?

The 90s vaccine lie that's still affecting children today

Listen | 22:27

Yesterday, the HSE confirmed the death of an adult from measles, the first case in Ireland this year. The HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre said the person died in a hospital in the Dublin and Midlands Health Region.

It follows a briefing in Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly that a significant increase of measles cases notified in Europe this winter, coupled with falling rates of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine uptake in Ireland, have raised concerns about wide transmission of the disease in Ireland in 2024.

Measles cases have soared across Europe since the start of 2023, while in England, 170 cases of measles were notified in an outbreak in the West Midlands between December 2023 and mid-January 2024.

So, how dangerous is measles and how many people used to die from it before a vaccine was introduced? Who is most at risk if they do contract this highly contagious virus?


And why is the virus spreading again, particularly among people in their 20s?

Today: Why are measles cases on the rise and who is most at risk?

Presented by Sorcha Pollak. Produced by Aideen Finnegan.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast