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SASTM Newsflash - Rubella: Japan


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SASTM Newsflash




Japan remains in the grip of rubella infections [German measles] with the disease spreading rapidly, and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases reports that 5442 people were diagnosed with rubella during January-April this year [2013].


The infections are 34 times more than that of the same period last year 2012], the Institute said, adding that the number of new infections had been rising by more than 500 per week since the beginning of April [2013].


Nearly 90 percent of the patients are aged 20 or above, most of them men in their 20s to 40s or women in their 20s.


Health authorities are calling for caution, as babies born to women who contract the disease during early pregnancy may develop severe eye, ear, or heart problems. Adults are urged to get vaccinated, as the disease is likely to peak around June, Japan's NHK broadcaster reported on Wednesday [8 May 2013].


Communicated by: ProMED-mail


[There seems no end in sight to the current outbreak of rubella virus infection in Japan. The high frequency of rubella virus infection in Japan, and its predominance in males, appears to be consequence of previous vaccination policies.


Rubella illness is generally mild in children, however it has serious consequences in pregnant women, causing fetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). WHO recommends that all countries that have not yet introduced rubella vaccine should consider to do so using existing well-established measles immunization programmes.




South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM)

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The content and opinions are neither pre-screened nor endorsed by the SASTM. The content should neither be interpreted nor quoted as inherently accurate or authoritative.

The information provided in SASTM Newsflashes is collected from various news sources, health agencies and government agencies. Although the information is believed to be accurate, any express or implied warranty as to its suitability for any purpose is categorically disclaimed. In particular, this information should not be construed to serve as medical advice for any individual. The health information provided is general in nature, and may not be appropriate for all persons. Medical advice may vary because of individual differences in such factors as health risks, current medical conditions and treatment, allergies, pregnancy and breast feeding, etc. In addition, global health risks are constantly evolving and changing. International travelers should consult a qualified physician for medical advice prior to departure.

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