Rubella (German Measles) in Japan
|Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel|
|Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions|
|Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions|
Updated: November 15, 2013
What is the current situation?
As of October 16, 2013, 14,171 rubella cases have been reported in Japan during 2013, compared to 2,353 rubella cases reported in 2012. Numbers of rubella cases have been highest in Osaka and Tokyo Metropolis Prefectures. Most cases occurred in the spring and summer which is the peak period for rubella in Japan. So far in 2013, 16 babies were born with birth defects caused because their mothers had rubella, compared to 5 babies in all of 2012.
CDC recommends that all travelers to Japan protect themselves from rubella by being up-to-date on their rubella vaccine. Pregnant women who are not protected against rubella either through vaccination or previous rubella infection should avoid traveling to Japan during this outbreak. This is especially important during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. (See box on advice for pregnant women).
What is rubella?
See the Travelers’ Health rubella webpage.
How can travelers protect themselves?
Get a rubella vaccine:
- The only rubella vaccines available in the United States are the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines.
- Adolescents and adults including non-pregnant females who have not had rubella or have not been vaccinated with MMR should get 1 dose.
- Children in the United States routinely receive MMR vaccination at age 12–15 months.
- Children 12 months of age or older should have 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.
- MMR has been used safely and effectively since the 1970s. A few people experience mild, temporary adverse reactions, such as joint pain, fever, and mild rash from the vaccine, but serious side effects are extremely rare. There is no link between MMR and autism.
- See Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) for more information.
- Wash your hands often.
- If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick.
- Rubella in CDC Health Information for International Travel -“Yellow Book”
- CDC Rubella Homepage
- Clinical Information
- Rubella: Immediate Notifiable Disease
- Rubella in Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases- “Pink Book”