Japan remains in the grip of rubella infections (German measles) with the disease spreading rapidly, and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases reports that 5,442 people were diagnosed with rubella during January-April 2013.
The infections are 34 times more than that of the same period in 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% 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, reported on 8 May 2013.
The full article may be accessed at http://www.promedmail.org/direct.php?id=20130508.1699530
The number of rubella patients in Japan has been rising at an alarming rate. Researchers at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases say 375 people were newly diagnosed with rubella, or German measles, in the week that ended on 31 March 2013. They say the number has been rising by a record high rate of more than 300 in each of the six weeks since late February 2013. They say that from January to March 2013, 2,905 people were diagnosed with the disease — 25 times more than 2012.
By area, Tokyo had the most patients at 111, followed by Kanagawa Prefecture with 60 and Hyogo Prefecture with 42. Nearly 90% of the patients are in their 20s or older. Many in that age group have not been vaccinated.
Babies born to women who contract the disease during early pregnancy may develop severe eye, ear or heart problems. Common symptoms include fever and rashes. The virus can spread through coughing or sneezing.
A senior researcher at the institute, Keiko Taya, says rubella epidemics usually peak in June or July. Taya says infections may spread to the Tohoku region in northeast Japan and the Shikoku region in western Japan, where few cases have been reported. She suggests that women who want to give birth get inoculated.
A video clip on rubella outbreak in Japan available at http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/movie/feature201303282116.html
(NHK World 4/9/2013)
National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID). IASR. February 2013. 34(2):21–23.
Available at http://www.nih.go.jp/niid/en/iasr-e/865-iasr/3234-tpc396.html
Excerpt. The article is an epidemiologic summary of measles in Japan. In 2012, 296 measles cases were reported, compared with 434 cases in 2011, and an estimated 200,000 cases per year in the early part of the 21st century. Significant progress in measles control has occurred since 2006, use of 2 doses of measles-rubella vaccine was begun.