In Japan, epidemic of rubella (German measles) is observed in 2019, which is likely to be the worst year in number of rubella patients since 2013 when Japan had epidemic last time. Male in his 30s through 50s is a sex and age group occupying the largest portion of the patients. This is because vaccination of rubella had been stopped for this group in medical history of Japan, so that the group typically does not have antibody against rubella and is vulnerable to infections at work place.
To make it worse, a baby can be suffered from congenital rubella syndrome if a pregnant wife is infected in an early stage of pregnancy, i.e. during the first 20 weeks. And due to 2 – 3 weeks of incubation period, an infected husband could pass on rubella virus to his wife and then to a pre-born baby without knowing.
It is recommended that a woman who plans to have a baby and her partner should take rubella antibody test and vaccination, in order to protect a baby from the syndrome. National and local governments in Japan provide subsidy for cost of the test and vaccination, so that you do not have to pay for them, which would otherwise cost at around JPY 5,000 – 10,000. This subsidy is available to certain sex and age groups, not to everybody. Please contact Healthcare department of your local government office for details.
- Link: National Institute of Infectious Diseases – Trend chart of rubella patients as of 17 July 2019 (English and Japanese commingled)
- Link: WHO – Rubella Fact Sheet (English)