Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Rubella cases in Japan monitored

     The Department of Health (DH) is monitoring an increase in the number of rubella cases in Japan and is offering appropriate health advice to travellers and members of the public.

     A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection noted that according to the information from Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1,419 rubella cases had been reported this year in Japan as of September 5, compared with 371 cases reported in 2011.

     "We have been contacting the Japanese health authority and the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong to obtain more information on the situation in the country," the spokesman said.

     Meanwhile, the Port Health Office of the DH has also contacted the travel industry with a view to informing them about the latest situation.

     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 ( The latest information and health advice on rubella for travellers will be available at the DH's Hong Kong Travel Health Service Website (

Ends/Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:07


Print this page