Hong Kong (HKSAR) - A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) said today (September 13) that the Centre has continued its monitoring of an increase in the number of rubella cases in Japan.
According to preliminary information from the Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization, the majority of the rubella cases have been reported from urban areas in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Aichi and Hyogo prefectures. As of September 5, 2012, the majority of rubella cases in Japan have affected adult males, with 1 082 of 1 419 cases being male.
The spokesman explained that rubella infection, also known as German Measles, is a highly infectious disease caused by the rubella virus. It can be transmitted by contact with secretions from the nose and pharynx of infected persons, through droplet spread or direct contact with patients.
Rubella infection during pregnancy can result in abnormal development of the fetus, especially during the first trimester.
"Immunisation against rubella is the most effective way to prevent the disease. Non-immune individuals are advised to consult their doctors about rubella vaccination, which is usually given together with measles and mumps vaccines. Women of child-bearing age planning to get pregnant should consult doctors to check for rubella immune status and the need for rubella vaccination," the spokesman said.
In Hong Kong, routine rubella vaccination has been provided to all girls at primary six since 1978 and given together with measles and mumps vaccines (MMR) to all children aged 1 since 1990.
A routine second dose of MMR at primary one was introduced in 1996. The coverage of MMR vaccination in Hong Kong is over 95 per cent at primary one.
Besides being vaccinated against rubella, to prevent rubella members of the public are advised to:
* Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene; * Maintain good indoor ventilation; * Keep hands clean and wash hands properly; * Wash hands when they are dirtied by respiratory secretions, e.g. after sneezing; and * Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly.
If travellers develop symptoms of rubella, they should consult doctors promptly and reveal their travel history.
For more information on rubella, members of the public may call the 24-hour health education hotline 2833 0111 or visit the CHP website (www.chp.gov.hk).
The latest information and health advice on rubella for travellers will be available at the DH's Hong Kong Travel Health Service Website (www.travelhealth.gov.hk).
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