PARENTS in Fermanagh are being urged to ignore misinformation on social media and continue to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases.
With an outbreak of measles recently sweeping through Dublin, and now spreading northwards to Meath, the HSE in the South has reminded parents the best protection against the highly contagious and deadly disease is two full doses of the MMR vaccine.
Fermanagh GP Brendan O’Hare agreed and warned measles was “a really nasty disease.”
“There’s absolutely no question, measles is a killer. It’s straightforward, it will kill children,” he said, adding that in the ’60s and ’70s measles was responsible for the death of thousands of young children across the UK.
While the disease was almost totally eradicated some years ago, much like smallpox or polio, due to the vaccine, the increase in outbreaks of measles across the world in recent years has been attributed to the false belief that MMR is linked to autism.
Dr O’Hare said there was absolutely no evidence to support this, and the doctor from the North who had first made the claims had been “struck off”.
“There’s been no evidence that’s been substantiated ever that it’s linked to autism,” he said. “There’s a whole swathe of evidence to support it [the MMR]. No vaccine is without some risk, that’s true, but the risks of not getting the vaccine outweigh the risks of taking it so much, to me it’s common sense to get it.”
Thankfully, Dr O’Hare said that in this part of the world, at least, parents are still vaccinating their children. He said this was vital in sustaining a “herd immunity”, meaning children too young to be vaccinated, or who can’t receive the MMR due to health reasons, are also protected from measles.
“We’ve a good uptake, in excess of 90 per cent,” he said. “If you have 90 per cent plus uptake, with a huge proportion of population immune, even if someone with it comes in it can’t really spread.”
Dr O’Hare added it was also important to be protected against the other two diseases covered by the MMR, mumps and rubella (German measles). He said while both were relatively “trivial” diseases for children, mumps can cause sterility in young men while rubella can cause deformities in unborn children if contracted by pregnant women.
Posted: 1:04 pm November 12, 2017