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Rubella in Japan (Update)

09 May 2013

The outbreak of rubella in Japan continues to spread and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases reports that 5442 cases were recorded between January-April this year (2013). The number of new infections have been rising by more than 500 per week since the beginning of April (2013).

Around 90% of cases are aged 20 years or more and most are male. An immunisation campaign is ongoing and adults are being encouraged to be immunised as the outbreak is likely to peak around June.

Advice for Travellers

Rubella infection has serious consequences for the unborn child if acquired by a woman during pregnancy. It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-15 months of age and again pre-school around 3 years 6 months, while unimmunised adults who have not had the disease themselves may consider vaccination if thought to be at risk. Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to give adequate protection.