Rubella Alert in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Rubella is rapidly spreading around Tokyo and the surrounding areas this year – especially among males in their 20s to 40s. The accumulated total numbers of the rubella patients marked 952 as of end of September: Tokyo holds the largest portion of patients up to now (307 people), next comes Chiba with 195 people, Kanagawa 108 people, Saitama 70 people, and Aichi with 55 people. The chart below shows the numbers of Rubella patients from 2014 to 2018, and we can see that numbers are growing drastically this year.

The reason why Rubella is such a threat is that it can have a serious health impact if contracted by women in the early stages of pregnancy as it tends to cause birth defects such as heart disorders, hearing impairments and cataracts in babies. Though vaccination is effective, already pregnant women cannot be vaccinated as the vaccine itself is feared to have an impact on the child. Therefore the Japanese government is currently calling attention to Rubella vaccination especially to families or people who have daily interactions with pregnant women.

For those who are intending to have children in Japan, it is highly recommended to take vaccinations as soon as possible. For those who are already pregnant, try to stay away from the crowd and crammed public transportation as much as possible. Hope you all stay safe!


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