Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 193–199 | Cite as

Identifying risk factors associated with acquiring measles in an outbreak among age-appropriately vaccinated school children: a cohort analysis

  • Bernadette O’Connor
  • Sarah DoyleEmail author
Original Article



A measles outbreak occurred in age-appropriately vaccinated children in a school in a town in the South East of Ireland in September–November 2013.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the risk factors associated with catching measles during the outbreak.


Ninety-five children (4–5 years) in three classes, in the first year of primary school, were included in the study. Immunisation records on the South East Child Health Information System for first Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine for the 95 children were reviewed. Data collected included age at MMR, date of administration of MMR, MMR brand and batch number, and the General Practice at which MMR was administered. The risk factors analysed included age at vaccination, time of vaccination, class and the GP practice where MMR was administered. Statistical analysis was performed using Epi info 7 and SPSS v24.


Thirteen children in the cohort developed measles during the outbreak. All children in the cohort were age-appropriately vaccinated, with one dose of MMR vaccine. Analysis demonstrated statistically significant differences in the relative risk of developing measles according to the class a child was in, and the General Practice at which they were vaccinated.


The reason for intense measles activity in one class was not established. Although a concurrent investigation into cold chain and vaccine stock management did not identify a cause for the high relative risk of measles in children vaccinated, recommendations were made for improving cold chain and vaccine stock management in General Practices.


Cohort Measles Outbreak Vaccination 



The authors acknowledge Dr. Elyce McGovern and Dr. Helena Murray and thank all the members of the outbreak and incident control teams, the Child Health Office, Consultant Microbiologists, General Practitioners, HSE South East Information and Communications Technology Department, schools, National Immunisation Office, National Virus Reference Laboratory and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public HealthHealth Service Executive South EastKilkennyIreland

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