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Rubella in Japan (Update)

06 Jun 2013

The rubella outbreak which began in Tokyo has now spread to most of the country. As of 25 May 2013, Osaka in the west of Japan recorded 204 rubella cases in epidemiological week 21, Tokyo 112 cases, Hyogo 85 cases and Kanagawa 61 cases. Countrywide, a total of 672 cases were reported in epidemiological week 21. A total of 8507 rubella cases have been recorded in Japan since the outbreak began; this compares with a total of 2392 cases for the whole of 2012. The majority of cases have been unvaccinated males in their 30's.

As of 10 May 2013, 5 cases of congenital rubella syndrome have been reported. Some municipalities decided to subsidize vaccination fees for those who are at risk.

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.