Written Answers. - Measles Epidemic.

Máirín Quill

Question:

241 Miss Quill asked the Minister for Health the preparations, if any, the Department of Health has made to fight the threatened measles epidemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1077/94]

I presume that the Deputy is referring to the national campaign to immunise children aged 5-16 years which has been launched recently in the UK. This campaign aims to prevent a measles epidemic predicted for 1995. The prediction is based inter alia on the upward trend in notification of measles in secondary school pupils.

The situation in this country differs from that in the UK in that children in the 10-14 year age group in this country have been included in the national immunisation schedule since 1992. Therefore the prevalance of measles infection and the pattern of immunisation give a different patern of susceptibility from that in the UK.

Nonetheless, in June of this year each health board was asked to intensify its efforts to ensure that the MMR vaccine is promoted and delivered to the relevant cohorts. I am keeping the matter under review at present and will announce details of any initiatives considered necessary soon.