Japan914 cases were recorded over the past six weeks.

Authorities caution travel to Japan amid rubella outbreak

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Exercise caution: a recent spike in rubella cases has prompted various health organisations to warn travellers to exercise caution when visiting Japan.
Exercise caution: a recent spike in rubella cases has prompted various health organisations to warn travellers to exercise caution when visiting Japan. Photo Credit: Rallef/Getty Images

In the past six weeks, 914 cases were reported, making up most of the 1,289 cases recorded this year as of last Wednesday (October 17). The numbers reflect a surge compared to previous years, where 93, 126 and 163 cases were recorded in 2017, 2016 and 2015 respectively, South China Morning Post reported.

A recent outbreak of rubella in Japan has prompted various national health organisations to issue advisories warning travellers to exercise caution when visiting the country.

In the past six weeks, 914 cases were reported, making up most of the 1,289 cases recorded this year as of last Wednesday (October 17). The numbers reflect a surge compared to previous years, where 93, 126 and 163 cases were recorded in 2017, 2016 and 2015 respectively, South China Morning Post reported.

Hong Kong health authorities have issued a warning for travellers visiting Japan. The city’s Centre for Health Protection urged all pregnant women and children who have not been vaccinated to avoid visiting Japan during the outbreak.

US national health organisation Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also warned against pregnant women travelling to Japan during the outbreak. It raised its alert level for the outbreak to “Level 2”, the second highest of three levels. 

Chiba prefecture received the highest concentration of the outbreak, with 37.6 cases per million population, followed by Tokyo (32 cases per million population) and Kanagawa prefecture (17.9 cases per million population).

From late March, an outbreak of measles was seen in Okinawa after an infected man from Taiwan visited the Japanese prefecture. Cases were also recorded in other parts of Japan. The outbreak ended in June.

Rubella is a highly contagious disease that is often transmitted through coughing and sneezing. Infection in the early stages of pregnancy can cause birth defects, such as hearing impairment, cataracts and heart disorders.


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