The Commonwealth of Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said she was “horrified” at measles outbreak, as 16 children were taken to hospital and four adults died after contracting the potentially fatal virus.
Ms. Foster said that local health officials were treating the situation as a national emergency and appealed to parents to ensure that their children were vaccinated.
“I’m horrified by this outbreak and again appeal to every parent to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated to protect their health and their families,” said Ms. Foster.
The latest figures show that there were the highest number of measles cases in the province in a decade.
The World Health Organization believes that one in ten children who become seriously ill with measles have died, but so far only one person has died from measles in Ireland this year.
In 2016, there were 21 measles cases.
The country was lucky, health experts said, that it never had a large measles outbreak because of the city’s extensive public schools system. They said one reason there hasn’t been a large outbreak is because local authorities encourage parents to vaccinate their children.
Health officials are warning that there could be more cases across the country if parents fail to ensure that their children are vaccinated.
The Ministry of Health in Ireland said the Ministry of Health is working closely with local health boards and national vaccination programmes to deal with the outbreak.
Although in Northern Ireland, immunization levels are lower than in the rest of the country, the country has the most extensive immunization program in the world for measles with each family receiving a free vaccination of up to three doses of measles, mumps and rubella.