Outbreak of Rubella (German Measles)
The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has been informed that an outbreak of rubella, also known as German measles, is currently occurring in Japan. More than 1,100 cases of rubella have been reported this year. The prefectures with the most cases are Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama. With frequent travel to and from Japan, it is possible that the disease may be brought to Guam.
Rubella is a moderately contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by rubella virus. The symptoms of rubella include mild fever, rash, runny nose, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and aching joints. Although the symptoms of rubella are mild, infection is more severe in early pregnancy (first 20 weeks) and may cause a variety of birth defects or even lead to a miscarriage.
Stay safe when traveling
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a Travel Health Notice- Alert Level 2 for international travelers to Japan due to the rubella outbreak. Travelers should practice enhanced precautions due to the increased risk.
- Get a rubella vaccine (in combination with measles and mumps vaccine) at least 4-6 weeks before departing. Information about CDC’s current MMR vaccine recommendations can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/
- Practice good hygiene and cleanliness.
- After your trip, if you feel seriously ill, seek health care. Tell your provider of recent travel and avoid contact with others while sick.
- Special advice for pregnant women: Talk with your healthcare provider before traveling to Japan to check whether you are protected against rubella through either vaccination or previous rubella infection and whether it is advisable to travel.
All health care providers on Guam are urged to be on alert for possible cases of rubella and to promptly report suspect cases to the Immunization Program, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, at 735-7143/7148 or 735-7135.
For more information, please call the DPHSS Immunization Program at 735-7143.
LEO G. CASIL
Acting Director, DPHSS