Japan fights worst measles outbreak in years


Japanese health authorities have been fighting the country's worst measles outbreak for years. Many infections are clustered among participants at a Valentine's Day Gift Fair and a religious group that avoids vaccinations.

A total of 167 cases were reported in 10 of the 47 Japanese prefectures by 10 February, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said, with the largest outbreaks in Mie and Osaka prefectures.

It is the fastest that Japan has reached this number of cases at the beginning of the year since 2008.

The outbreak of the highly contagious disease occurs as the United States grapples with measles outbreaks in Texas, New York and Washington, with more than 120 cases reported so far this year. These epidemics have prompted children to be vaccinated in some places where parents have a wider choice regarding these decisions.

In Japan, almost all 49 cases reported in Mie Prefecture were people related to Miroku Kyusei Shinkyo community, a religious group advocating alternative healing.

The group said that he insisted on the need to avoid drugs and vaccines and consume foods derived from natural agriculture. But after some members were infected, the group apologized and said it was changing its practices.

"Given the unexpected situation, we will follow the advice of the health center to get vaccinated against measles or other highly infectious diseases so as not to worry others," the group said. a statement posted on their website.

Some of the patients from the outbreak of Mie prefecture have not been sufficiently vaccinated, said Masaya Yamato, doctor of the Rinku General Medical Center in Osaka.

"Many patients were young and did not get enough vaccines, perhaps because of their parents' philosophy, and the outbreak spread during their meeting," said Dr. Yamato.

Another large group of measles infections is located in Osaka, in the highest complex in Japan, Abeno Harukas, where 21 clients and workers at a Valentine's Day fair contracted the virus.


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