NIID: Measles Outbreak in Japan Could Spread During Golden Week Celebrations

Japan’s Ministry of Health has released a public advisory regarding the recent measles outbreak in Okinawa as well as several other cases in Nagoya. There have already been a total of 67 confirmed cases of measles infection on the island of Japan as of April 20.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) has expressed concern that travelers going into and out of Japan during Golden Week might be exposed to the highly contagious viral infection, and urged the general populace to get “fully vaccinated” against measles to prevent the spread of the disease elsewhere.

Golden Week Festivities May Facilitate Spread of Measles Virus in Japan – NIID

Japan’s Golden Week, which runs from April 28 to May 6, is one of the country’s busiest times of the year where consecutive holidays are being celebrated in public drawing a huge number of visitors from all over the world.

According to Keiko Taya, a high-ranking researcher of NIID’s Infectious Disease Surveillance Centre, the possibility of the disease to spread during this festive season in Japan should not be dismissed and echoed the advice of the health ministry to have everyone be “fully vaccinated” in preparation for the coming season.

In a response of concern, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) shared that the safest and most reliable way to prevent contracting the disease (measles) is through vaccination. The symptoms of the infection generally appear one to two weeks after a person has been infected by the virus. These include runny nose, cough, fever, rashes on the skin, as well as red and watery eyes. The MOH further explained that measles is spread through contact with an infected individual through sneezing and coughing.

According to local reports, the outbreak has been traced to a 30-year-old man who works as a flight attendant in Tigerair Taiwan.

In a statement from Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) last March 29, the man had been found to have visited Thailand sometime in early March before flying in to Okinawa, Japan, where he had been diagnosed and confined eventually.

As per the CDC’s report, there have already been at least 22 cases of measles infection in Taiwan – its highest record in the last nine years. In a follow-up report of a local news source, seven individuals contracted the disease overseas while the 15 others had been infected domestically.

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