Date: Tue 23 Oct 2018
Source: NHK World-Japan [edited]
US health officials have warned that pregnant women who are not protected against rubella, or German measles, through either vaccination or previous infection, should not travel to Japan during the current outbreak in the country.
The number of patients with the viral infection is increasing, mostly in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on [Mon 22 Oct 2018] raised its advisory level for the rubella outbreak in Japan to "alert," the 2nd highest of 3 levels.
The health officials say that travelers to the country should make sure they are vaccinated against the infection before travel.
Babies born to women who contract the disease during pregnancy are at risk of having birth defects, such as eye, ear, or heart disorders.
The World Health Organization announced in 2015 that the Americas are the world's 1st region to eliminate rubella and congenital rubella syndrome.
Japan's health ministry says that at the moment, the US is the only country to call for pregnant women not to travel to Japan.
US CDC: travel alert
Date: Mon 22 Oct 2018
Source: Travelers' Health CDC [edited]
Rubella in Japan, alert - level 2, practice enhanced precautions
- There is an outbreak of rubella in Japan.
- Travelers to Japan should make sure they are vaccinated against rubella with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine before travel.
- Rubella is very dangerous for a pregnant woman and her developing baby. Pregnant women who are not protected against rubella through either vaccination or previous rubella infection should not travel to Japan during this outbreak.
What is the current situation?
Health officials in Japan have reported an outbreak of rubella. Most cases continue to be reported in the Kanto region (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama).
What can travelers do to protect themselves?
- Make sure you are fully vaccinated or otherwise protected against rubella.*
- People who cannot show that they were vaccinated or are otherwise protected against rubella should get vaccinated before leaving the United States:
- Infants (6-11 months of age) should have 1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Children in the United States routinely receive MMR vaccination at age 12-15 months.
- Adults and children 1 year of age or older should have 2 doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
*Those who are otherwise protected include people who were born before 1957 and those who have been tested and have confirmed immunity. Talk to a doctor to see if you are protected against rubella.
Special advice for pregnant women
When rubella infection occurs during early pregnancy, serious consequences -- such as miscarriages, stillbirths, and severe birth defects in infants, congenital rubella syndrome, CRS [<https://www.cdc.gov/rubella/pregnancy.html
>] -- can result.
See more about pregnancy and rubella at
Pregnant women should
- talk with their healthcare providers before traveling to Japan to check whether they are protected against rubella and whether it is advisable to travel;
- avoid traveling to Japan during this outbreak if not protected against rubella, through either vaccination or previous rubella infection. This is especially important during the 1st 20 weeks of pregnancy;
- get MMR vaccine after they have given birth, if they are not already protected against rubella.
Learn more about preventing rubella and what to do if you think you have it on the rubella page for travelers
What can clinicians do?
- Check that your patients 6 months of age or older who will be traveling internationally are protected against rubella.
- Think Travel: keep rubella in mind when treating patients with fever and rash, especially if the patient has recently travelled internationally.
- Rubella webpage for travelers:
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine information statement:
- MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella) vaccine information statement:
- Rubella in CDC's Yellow Book (Health Information for International Travel):
and MMRV vaccine
- Rubella information for healthcare professionals
What is rubella?
Rubella, also called German measles, is a disease spread by the coughs and sneezes of infected people. Symptoms include rash and fever for 2-3 days. Rubella is very dangerous for a pregnant woman and her developing baby. If a pregnant woman gets rubella virus, her baby could have birth defects such as deafness, cataracts (blurred vision), heart defects, mental disabilities, and organ damage.
[Maps of Japan: