SALT LAKE CITY — The number of reported rubella cases in Japan this year has exceeded last years number by over 10 times.
What's going on: Quartz reported that the outbreak has caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to express some concern for U.S. citizens, particularly pregnant women who are traveling to Japan.
- “Rubella is very dangerous for a pregnant woman and her developing baby,” the CDC said in a travel notice. “Pregnant women who are not protected against rubella through either vaccination or previous rubella infection should not travel to Japan during this outbreak.”
- While the CDC’s warning was issued to anyone who has not been vaccinated against the disease, they were especially stern about pregnant women because of the harmful effects the highly contagious rubella can have on an unborn child.
- “When rubella infection occurs during early pregnancy, serious consequences — such as miscarriages, stillbirths, and severe birth defects in infants congenital rubella syndrome, CRS — can result.”
- According to the South China Morning Post, authorities in Hong Kong have also issued a similar warning to their citizens.
Why?: Quartz reported that the reason for rubella outbreaks in Japan could be traced to vaccination gaps from 1976 to 1989 and 1993 to 2006 where only women were given the vaccine.
The gaps left the men who did not receive the vaccine more vulnerable to contracting rubella.
Solutions: Companies in Japan are offering free vaccinations to their employees. Most shots cost about $100, Quartz reported.