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Published On: Thu, Jun 20th, 2013

CDC issues travel warnings for Japan and Poland in light of Rubella outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising travelers to Japan and Poland, and especially pregnant women, to be up-to-date on their Rubella vaccines in light of huge outbreaks of the viral vaccine-preventable diseases in the two countries.

This photograph shows the cataracts in a child’s eyes due to Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). Rubella is a viral disease that can affect susceptible persons of any age. Although generally a mild rash, if contracted in early pregnancy, there can be a high rate of fetal wastage or birth defects, known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). Image/CDC

This photograph shows the cataracts in a child’s eyes due to Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
Rubella is a viral disease that can affect susceptible persons of any age. Although generally a mild rash, if contracted in early pregnancy, there can be a high rate of fetal wastage or birth defects, known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
Image/CDC

According to federal health officials, as of May 29, 2013, over 8,500 laboratory-confirmed rubella cases have been reported in Japan during 2013 (of course, more recent numbers from Japan shows the total case count to exceed 10,000) and cases numbers are expected to increase as the peak period for rubella is spring to summer in Japan.

Areas hit the hardest with rubella (German measles) are Osaka, Tokyo Metropolis, Kanagawa, and Kagoshima Prefectures.

In Poland, the numbers are even higher. As of June 19, 2013, more than 26,000 cases of rubella have been reported in Poland since the beginning of 2013.

Although the entire country is affected by the outbreak, the CDC reports that the western region (Malopolskie and Wielkopolskie provinces) has the highest number of cases.

How to protect yourself from Rubella?

Ensure your vaccine status is up-to -date, if not, get vaccinated.The only rubella vaccines available in the United States are the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines.

In addition, the CDC recommends simple hygiene steps like frequent handwashing, keeping your fingers from your face, etc.

In addition, health officials offer special recommendations for pregnant women:

Talk to your health care provider if you are pregnant:

  • Before traveling to Japan or Poland, all pregnant women should talk with their health care providers to make sure they are protected against rubella and if it is advisable to travel.
  • Pregnant women who are not protected against rubella either through vaccination or previous rubella infection should avoid traveling to Poland during this outbreak. This is especially important during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • MMR vaccine is contraindicated during pregnancy.
  • When rubella infection occurs during early pregnancy serious consequences—such as miscarriages, stillbirths, and a severe birth defects in infants (Congenital rubella syndrome, CRS) can result. As many as 85 of 100 babies born to mothers who had rubella in the first 3 months of her pregnancy will have a birth defect.

Rubella or German measles is a mild, febrile viral disease characterized by a rash and fever. The rash is clinically indistinguishable from those produced by measles, parvovirus B19 and scarlet fever. This highly communicable disease is contagious from about 1 week before and four days after onset of the rash.

Rubella is important because of its ability to cause problems with the developing fetus. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) can cause miscarriage; and mental retardation, deafness or cataracts and other birth defects in the newborn.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. The good old days? – doctorgladstone says:

    […] CDC issues travel warnings for Japan and Poland in light of Rubella outbreaks (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

  2. We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby! | Hunt FOR Truth on wordpress says:

    […] CDC issues travel warnings for Japan and Poland in light of Rubella outbreaks (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

  3. Rubella case counts in Japan and Poland continue to rise - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number is up more than 5,000 cases from  May 29, 2013 when 8,500 cases were […]

  4. Rubella cases continue to climb in Japan and Poland - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] This number is up from 26,000 cases reported just a month ago. […]

  5. The good old days? – doctorgladstone says:

    […] CDC issues travel warnings for Japan and Poland in light of Rubella outbreaks (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

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