In a follow-up on the rubella situation in Japan in 2018, the Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases now puts the case tally at 496 through the first week of September.


Chiba Prefecture and Tokyo have seen the most cases with 122 and 146 cases, respectively.

This compares to less than 100 cases reported during the same period last year.

The patients included many men in their 30s to 50s who have not been sufficiently vaccinated against the highly contagious disease that is often transmitted through coughing and sneezing, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Japan experienced a major rubella outbreak in 2013 with over 14,000 people contracting the disease. There has been a resurgence in the number of cases since late July, with the annual number of patients reaching the highest level since 2014.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Most people who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in an developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant. The best protection against rubella is MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine.