The number of rubella cases reported in Japan this year continues to rise as officials report an additional 154 cases in the week up to November 4th.
According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the total cases near the 2,000 case mark with 1,884 cases reported to date–which is about a 700 + case increase in the past four weeks.
Tokyo has seen the most cases with 656, while Chiba and Kanagawa prefecture’s report 285 and 250 cases, respectively.
While the bulk of the cases have been reported in the Tokyo metro area, cases are being reported from other regions of the country.
According to an NHK World-Japan report, The number of men infected is 4.5 times greater than that for cases among women. Over 80 percent of the men are aged in their 30s to 50s.
Health regulations in place from 1977 to 1995 required only that junior high school girls be vaccinated for rubella, making men who are now between the ages of 30 and 60 vulnerable to infection.
Rubella, or German measles infection in people is typically mild. However, in pregnant women, rubella can cause death or birth defects such as cataracts, deafness, glaucoma, and heart, lung and brain abnormalities in an unborn baby (fetus) during the first few months of pregnancy.
Rubella is a highly contagious disease. People who are infected with rubella are infectious from 1 week before to at least 4 days after the rash appears. It is transmitted through airborne droplet or close contact with the patient, but it is vaccine-preventable.
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