The HSE West is urging students at NUI Galway to find out if they have been vaccinated against measles.
The appeal comes in the wake of an outbreak of the condition at the university in the past week.
There are five confirmed cases of this highly contagious infection among students at the college.
The local health authority is advising all students to find out from their families if they were fully vaccinated and protected against this acute condition.
Its department of public health says any student who has not had two doses of the MMR vaccine should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, the public health director for Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, says the only way to prevent measles is by vaccination.
“It is essential that non-vaccinated students ensure that they get fully vaccinated immediately. The public health department is working closely with the education sector to provide advice and assistance in dealing with this outbreak.”
He says his department will provide on site clinics should the numbers requiring vaccination be significant.
He stresses that hand washing is “really important” in controlling the spread of measles and other infectious diseases.
The condition can cause serious complications, especially for children. The key symptoms to watch out for are:
— a skin rash,
— high temperature,
— runny nose
— red or watery eyes
Dr O’Donovan says it is “absolutely imperative” that students who are ill do not attend the university until four days after the rash appears and they are fully well.
“Students are being advised to contact their GP by phone if unwell; they should not attend the GP clinic without ringing first.”
Unvaccinated housemates of measles’ sufferers should not attend college for a number of days depending on when they were exposed to the infection. This is to avoid transmitting measles to others.
NUI Galway is warning students and the public about the outbreak of the disease. It outlines on its website that students with symptoms should not attend university until four days after their onset and they feel well again.
“The Student Health Unit or GP will provide vaccination clinics for any student who has not had adequate vaccination of two doses of MMR vaccine. To book an appointment for vaccinations contact the Student Health Unit at (091 ) 493758 or (091 ) 495637.”