Taiwan health officials are reporting this year’s first case of rubella, or German measles in a 39-year-old female who resides in northern Taiwan. According to the CDC, she sought medical attention on Jan. 18 after developing skin rash. When her symptoms persisted and other symptoms such as fever, cough, and swollen neck lymph node, she sought medical attention again on Jan. 20.

Taiwan map/CIA
Taiwan map/CIA

Infection with rubella was later confirmed in the case, which has since recovered and been removed from isolation.

Health officials have determined the case to be travel-related since during the exposure period, she was traveling in Hong Kong.

Health authorities implemented a number of prevention measures and identified 80 contacts, including her family members, passengers sitting in the same and adjacent rows on the same flight to Taiwan, healthcare personnel and patients that she came into contact with when she sought medical attention, to monitor and follow up until February 15. 

To date, none of the contacts is pregnant and none has developed any suspected symptoms.

In 2015, Taiwan saw seven rubella cases, three of them being locally transmitted.

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.