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Japan is currently facing an outbreak of rubella, with more than 900 cases reported in the last six weeks. A total of 1,289 cases of the disease have been reported in Japan this year. The number of rubella outbreaks reported is staggeringly high compared to last year’s count of just 93. Cities in the Kanto region, like Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, have seen the most cases.

The CDC announced that travelers not vaccinated against rubella, especially pregnant women, should avoid travel to Japan during the outbreak. Travelers should confirm with their doctor that they’ve received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine before flying to Japan.

Rubella is particularly dangerous for a pregnant woman and her developing baby. Birth defects such as deafness, cataracts (blurred vision), heart defects, mental disabilities and organ damage can all be side effects of the virus for the unborn child. Women who contract rubella early in the pregnancy can experience a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Rubella is spread by the coughs and sneezes of those infected with the disease. Symptoms include rash and a fever that can last from 2-3 days.

Know before you go.

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