Measles is an infectious disease caused by the measles virus. It is highly contagious, with almost 100% of people who do not possess immunity developing symptoms if infected. Measles can cause serious complications and may even be life threatening.
Measles may have been eradicated in Japan, but it is still possible for the virus to be brought into the country from overseas.
Measles is not a disease of the past! Make sure you are vaccinated against measles!
1. High temperature of 38℃ or above
2. Cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis)
3. Red rash (bumps) covering the entire body
Measles is suspected if all three of these symptoms are present. Those who have travelled overseas need to be particularly careful.
Measles is transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets, by airborne infection, or through direct contact with an infected person.
・You can be infected by breathing in air which contains the measles virus, which happens when someone coughs, sneezes, etc. (droplet infection or airborne infection). You can also be infected through contact with an infected individual.
・Measles is an extremely contagious disease, and it is said that a single infected individual can infect 12 to 14 people if those around them do not have immunity to measles (in contrast, the infection rate for influenza is 1-2 people). Almost 100% of people who do not possess immunity develop symptoms if infected.
・Measles can be transmitted to others from one day before the appearance of symptoms such as a fever or cough (3-5 before rash onset) to 4-5 days after rash onset (or three days after the lowering of fever).
Complications of measles can be life threatening. Complications are said to occur in around 30% of all cases. Of these, pneumonia and encephalitis are the largest causes of death attributed to measles.
There are a range of potential complications of measles, including pneumonia, encephalitis, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPR), inflammation of the middle ear, croup syndrome (pharyngitis, pharyngolaryngeal bronchitis), myocarditis, etc.
What to do if you come into contact with someone who has measles
Continue to monitor your health for 2 weeks (maximum of 3 weeks) after the last day you came into contact with the infected individual, making sure to check your temperature every day. If you show symptoms suggesting measles, contact a medical facility in advance and follow the instructions you are given.
Measures to prevent the spread of measles
・There are many cases in which you need to provide proof that you have been vaccinated against measles or that your have sufficient immunity against measles, such as when you start university or when you travel overseas, etc. In particular, you are required to have had 2 measles shots if you are going on to study at a school overseas.
・You can get a blood test (antibody titer test) at a medical facility to check whether or not you have immunity to measles (these tests are at your own expense).
・Those with weak immune systems or whose work means they often come into contact with children etc., such as work related to medicine, welfare, education or childcare, need to be vaccinated against measles to ensure that they do not become a source of infection. Also, some companies check the vaccination records of new recruits.
Rubella is an infectious disease caused by the rubella virus, characterized by a fever, rash and enlargement of the lymph nodes. Symptoms appear following a latency period lasting around 14-21 days (16-18 days on average).While the prognosis is usually good for those who come down with this condition, hospitalization may be necessary in some cases because of complications such as joint pain and inflammation, thrombocytopenic purpura, acute encephalitis, etc.
Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS)
If a pregnant woman contracts rubella during the first half of her pregnancy, she may pass it on to her fetus. This can cause a condition in infants known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). The three classic symptoms of CRS are cataracts, congenital heart disease, and sensorineural deafness.
Steps you can take to avoid getting measles or rubella
The best way to avoid getting measles or rubella is through a vaccination, which will give you immunity.Those who fall under the following categories can receive a vaccination against measles and rubella for free as a routine vaccination. Please check the ages and vaccination schedules below and make sure to get vaccinated.
・(First dose) Please take your child to get a combined vaccination for measles and rubella (MR) as soon as they turn one year of age.
・(Second dose) Please take your child to get the second dose of the vaccination in the year before they are due to start elementary school.
Those who are aged 19 years or above and who are pregnant, living with someone who is pregnant, or who wish to get pregnant can receive a rubella vaccination or antibody test. For more details, please contact your ward office.
Where to inquire
|Measles/rubella||Health Safety Division, Health and Social Welfare Bureau (*Inquiries in Japanese only)|