In a follow-up on the rubella cases in Japan, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases reported an additional 150 cases during the past week, bringing the total this year to 1,103.

Image/Robert Herriman
Image/Robert Herriman

This is the most cases reported in Japan since 2014.

Tokyo has seen 362 cases, the most in the country this year, followed by Chiba prefecture with 216 and Kanagawa prefecture with 132.

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.

Outbreak News TV

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.

The institute is calling on women to receive a vaccination followed by a booster shot before they become pregnant. It also says it’s important for family members of pregnant women to be inoculated with vaccines.