April 22, 2024

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Measles Outbreak Warning: Those Born Before 1972 at Risk of Severe Complications

Measles Outbreak Warning: Those Born Before 1972 at Risk of Severe Complications

Measles Outbreak Warning: Those Born Before 1972 at Risk of Severe Complications

People born before 1972 should be cautious! Measles outbreak, people aged 52 and older are at risk of “encephalitis death”

On March 2nd, Kyodo News reported that measles infections are spreading in various parts of the world, especially in Europe. In Japan, a woman in her 20s was reported to be infected in Tokyo on March 8th. This patient was on the same international flight as the case announced in Osaka Prefecture on March 1st.

Dr. Eiji Kusumi, an internist at Navitas Clinic Tachikawa, explains, “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of measles patients in Europe was about 950 in 2022, but it has increased dramatically to 42,200 in 2023.”

The cause is believed to be the loss of the opportunity for 61 million vaccine doses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors.

“Also, due to negative information about vaccines, there are quite a few people who hesitate to get vaccinated. However, measles can spread if 95% of the population does not have immunity, and even a slight decrease in the vaccination rate, which should normally be received twice, can have an impact.”

In Europe, where patients are rapidly increasing, the first dose vaccination rate was 96% in 2019, but it decreased to 93% in 2022. The second dose vaccination rate was 92% in 2019, but decreased to 91% in 2022. It is this slight difference that is causing the major outbreak. Measles is known for its high infectiousness, being 9 times more infectious than influenza!

“It is so infectious that if one infected person is in a poorly ventilated building, everyone in the building is at risk of infection. It cannot be prevented by wearing a mask. Even looking at the basic reproduction number, the new coronavirus infects about 3 people from one infected person, influenza infects about 2 people, but measles infects 12-18 people. It can be said that it is 6-9 times more infectious than influenza by simple calculation.”

Therefore, periodic, small-scale outbreaks have occurred worldwide.

“In 2015, there was a measles outbreak in California, USA, among Disneyland visitors, etc. It was reported that the vaccination rate in the affected area had slightly decreased.”

There have also been reports of infections in Japan.

In 2016, there was a cluster infection among airport staff at Kansai Airport. In 2018, there was an outbreak in Okinawa from a person who came for sightseeing from Taiwan. At that time, infections spread to Aichi and Tokyo from a man who traveled to Okinawa, infecting a woman.

Also, in April last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a man returning from India complained of symptoms such as fever and was found to be infected with measles. Subsequent infections have also been confirmed in a woman in her 30s and a man in his 40s who were on the same Shinkansen as the patient.

“If you have not been vaccinated or naturally infected and do not have immunity, you will almost certainly get infected.”

As for the vaccine, those born after April 2, 2000 are likely to have received two doses, but those born before September 30, 1972, who are 52 years old and older this year, are likely to have never been vaccinated. Those born between October 1, 1972 and April 1, 2000 are considered to be of the generation that received one dose.

“Many are likely to have been naturally infected, but those who do not have immunity or have insufficient immunity should be cautious.”

There is no specific treatment for measles, so treatment is only symptomatic.

Measles has an incubation period of about 10 days, and initial symptoms are similar to a common cold, such as cough, runny nose, and fever.

“The symptoms worsen around the third day of onset, with a fever exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, conjunctivitis, and a rash of red bumps appearing all over the body, which usually heals in about a week.

There is no specific treatment like Tamiflu for influenza, so treatment is symptomatic, such as taking antipyretics when a high fever occurs.”

According to data from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, about 30% of patients develop complications, with pneumonia accounting for half of them.

“Pneumonia can be fatal in elderly people. If encephalitis occurs, confusion or a decrease in the level of consciousness may occur, and in the worst case, death may occur.”

It is said that one in every thousand cases develops encephalitis.

Furthermore, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, which occurs in about one in every 100,000 patients, is a central nervous system disorder that develops 7-10 years after measles infection.

“There is no treatment, and after the onset, intellectual disability and motor disorders progress, leading to death in several months to several years.”

Pregnant women should also be cautious. If infected, they are more likely to develop severe symptoms, with a 30-40% chance of premature birth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

“The mortality rate of measles is said to be about 0.1%. However, as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, if the infection spreads explosively, medical collapse may occur, leading to an increase in the mortality rate.

In 2019, when measles spread in the Philippines, the mortality rate was reported to be 3.2%.”

In Japan, due to the limited contact with others during the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued habit of washing hands and alcohol disinfection, immunity may have decreased, so if infected, the symptoms may become severe.

“If you do not know your vaccination history or past infections, consider antibody testing or vaccination.

In the case of self-pay, antibody testing costs about 5,000 to 8,000 yen, and vaccination costs about 9,000 to 11,000 yen per dose.”

Measles, which is sometimes treated as a “something like measles” due to youthful indiscretion, is a disease that should never be taken lightly.

Measles Outbreak Warning: Those Born Before 1972 at Risk of Severe Complications

Measles Outbreak Warning: Those Born Before 1972 at Risk of Severe Complications

(source:internet, reference only)

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