Japan deals with rubella outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that Japan is currently going through an outbreak of rubella.

Rubella, which is also known as the three-day measles, is a disease caused by the rubella virus. It is usually known to be a mild disease that lasts from one to three days. Mothers who are in early stages of pregnancy may experience serious problems such as the child being born with congenital rubella syndrome.

The symptoms of rubella are usually a rash and fever. Rubella can affect any age group, but is rarely found in infants and people over 40.

Japan has a long standing history of combating rubella. In 1976, Japan introduced a rubella vaccine in its national immunization program and in 1989, introduced the MMR vaccine to wider group of people in the national immunization plan.

In 2012, the number of rubella cases increased from record low levels seen in 2010 and 2011. From January to May of 2013, a total of 5,442 rubella cases were reported, with over 60 percent of these cases coming from the Kanto area.

In recent weeks, rubella has spread out of the Kanto area into nearby districts. Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare provided guidance to health-care authorities to deal with the current outbreak and bring it under control.